Archive for the ‘Golf’ Category

Ejected – Claim of Youth Group Employee Thrown from Golf Cart at Fundraising Event Barred by Assumption of Risk (NY)

October 23, 2015

Valverde v. Great Expectations, LLC (New York)

An employee of a youth group was injured during a fund raising event at a golf course.  The employee was being driven in a golf cart by a 17-year-old participant in the event.  The participant tried to make a sharp turn into a parking lot and the employee flew out of the cart.  The employee filed a lawsuit against the participant, and the participant filed a motion for summary judgment arguing that the employee’s claims were barred by the doctrine of assumption of risk.  The trial court denied the participant’s motion, and he appealed.

On appeal, the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court reversed the decision and entered judgment in favor of the participant.  The Court noted that in the context of a sporting or recreational event, not only do the participants consent to the risks inherent in the sport or event, but a “nonparticipant may also be subject to a defense based on the doctrine of assumed risk.”  The Court held that the employee knowingly and voluntarily rode in the gold cart during the golf tournament in which she was assigned to monitor one of the holes.  Even though the employee did not know the participant did not have a driver’s license, “she knew that he was a minor yet made no attempt to determine whether he had a license or whether he should be operating a golf cart.”  The Court further noted that it did not render the assumption of the risk doctrine inapplicable simply because the employee was not actively performing her duties of minoring the hole at the time of the incident.  The incident “occurred in a designated athletic or recreational venue.”

Finally, the employee argued that she was under an “inherent compulsion” to assume the risk, but the Court stated there was no evidence to support the claim.


In the Rough – Golf Course Defeats Claim of Golfer Who Tripped Over a “Clump” of Mowed Grass (NY)

May 5, 2015

German v. City of New York (New York)
(unreported trial court disposition)

A veteran golfer tripped and fell on a “clump” of wet grass on a golf course, suffering a significant leg injury.  He filed a negligence lawsuit against the golf course, claiming that it failed to properly maintained the course, failed to properly cut and remove or disburse cut grass at the location of the fall, failed to keep the course free from hazardous conditions, and failed to property train, supervise and coordinate its employees.  The golf course filed a motion for summary judgment based on the doctrine of primary assumption of risk.  The trial court (the Supreme Court of New York) granted the course’s motion.

On the day of the incident, the grass was very wet and golf carts were banned from the fairway.  Plaintiff completed the first 12 holes of the course, and by the time the plaintiff reached the 13th hole, the grass was in the process of being cut.  Plaintiff stepped out of the cart and began walking down the hill towards his ball when he tripped and fell on the clump of wet grass that purportedly was left on the fairway after the grass had been cut.


Golf Course Backs Out of Liability to Injured Golfer

July 6, 2008

Parsons v. Arrowhead Golf (Indiana)
(Court Holds that Golf Course Owed No Duty to Prevent a Golfer’s Back Injury Suffered When He Stepped Out of Golf Cart.)

The defendant managed an 18-hole golf course where the plaintiff was playing golf. The plaintiff stepped off of a golf cart, landed “straight-legged” and immediately experienced lower back pain. The plaintiff stated that the drop was four to twelve inches deep, and that he had not noticed this irregularity on the grounds during his past years of golfing experience on this course. Plaintiff had golfed here once per week for over two years. The manager of the course had regularly inspected the grounds for dangerous conditions and moved walking paths as necessary to ensure that they did not become worn out. In this particular instance, the manager had placed stone where the plaintiff was injured. Plaintiff alleged that the defendant had failed to take reasonable safety measures by negligently maintaining the premises and failing to warn him about the danger. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the defendant based on assumption of the risk, and the plaintiff appealed.


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.