Archive for September, 2007

Fore Head

September 19, 2007

Shin v. Ahn (California)
(Golfer Learns Lesson About Standing in Front of Another golfer Teeing Off; Court Allows Case to Proceed to Trial on Issue of Reckless Conduct)

The plaintiff was golfing in a threesome. He took a shortcut from one hole to the other, which placed him in front of the defendant and to the defendant’s left. Plaintiff stopped at that point to get a bottle of water out of his golf bag and to check his cell phone for messages. He did so even though he knew (1) that he was in front of the tee box, (2) that defendant was preparing to tee off, and (3) that he should stand behind a player who was teeing off. The defendant golfer inadvertently “pulled” his tee shot to the left, hitting plaintiff in the temple. The plaintiff brought a negligence action against other golfer. The parties disputed whether the defendant golfer knew where plaintiff was standing when he teed off. The plaintiff alleged that he and defendant made eye contact before defendant hit his shot, but his accounts of just when that eye contact occurred appeared to be inconsistent and in dispute.

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Parens Patriae (“Father of the People”)

September 18, 2007

Fields v. Kirton (Florida)
(ATV Fatality; Court of Appeal Makes a Statement Against Parents’/Guardians’ Rights to Waive/Release Negligence Liability on Behalf of Minor Participants in Recreation Activities; Conflict Created in the Law)

A fourteen (14) year old boy died in an all terrain vehicle (“ATV”) accident. His father had taken the boy to the defendant motorsports park without the knowledge of the boy’s mother. In order to gain entry into the park, the father signed a release and waiver of liability, assumption of risk, and indemnity agreement on behalf of his son, which (by its terms) protected the park from negligence-based liability. Thereafter, the boy attempted to complete a jump, but was ejected from the ATV. The ATV landed on top of him. He tried to get up, but collapsed and died. The boy had unsuccessfully attempted the same jump one month earlier, resulting in a fractured rib and mild concussion.

The boy’s parents filed a lawsuit against the park and its owners/operators, alleging negligence in the operation of the facility. The defendants filed a motion for summary judgment based upon the release agreement signed by the boy’s father. The trial court granted the defendants’ motion and the plaintiffs appealed. On appeal, the court reversed the trial court’s decision.

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