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Jail Time for Phillies Fan's 'Vomit Assault'

By Laura Strachan, Esq. on July 30, 2010 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

It's a swing and a miss for the Phillies fan that unleashed a "vomit assault" on a local police officer and his 11 year-old daughter in the stands of a Phillies baseball game this past April. The judge in the case sentenced 21-year old Matthew Clemmens to 30 to 90 days of jail, 50 hours of community service, and 2 years probation.

Clemmens was charged with simple assault, disorderly conduct, and harassment for intentionally making himself vomit on Michael Vangelo and his daughter. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Clemmens was displeased when a member of his party was ejected from the game and stated, "I need to do what I need to do. I am going to get sick," right before putting his fingers down his throat to induce vomiting.

At his trial, an upset Clemmens fought back a more appropriate bodily reaction and apologized for his ballpark antics. No doubt, intentional vomiting is a unique form of assault (and not your typical baseball injury), but nevertheless falls squarely into the tort's definition. Assault is the intentional attempt or threat to inflict injury upon another that creates a reasonable apprehension of fear or offensive contact in the victim. Not surprisingly, Clemmens intentional vomit assault created such a fear in Vangelo's daughters that the family has not been back to a baseball game since the incident.

In sentencing Matthew Clemens to a variety of punishments, (jail, community, service, and probation) the judge is probably hoping that it will serve as a continual reminder of the repercussions of his socially unacceptable behavior. And in a twist of irony, the judge recommended that the Phillies fan's community service should be served cleaning bathrooms ... at the ballpark.

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