Sports Law Blog
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Thursday, July 27, 2006
Ex-NBAer Mashburn sued for golf injury
One-time Miami Heat basketball player Jamal Mashburn (who retired from basketball in March after he was waived by the 76ers), has been sued by a Florida man who claims Mashburn failed to shout “fore” or provide any warning before hitting a golf ball in the man’s direction. The plaintiff claims to have suffered serious injury.
Mashburn developed an interest in golf at the University of Kentucky. At least that’s what he told the Charlotte Hornets, as reported in a puff piece “Getting to know . . . Jamal Mashburn”:
"I'm a big-time golfer," Mashburn said in reaction to what he likes to do off the court. "I started playing when I was in college. They turned me on to that at the University of Kentucky."The lawsuit gets coverage here, here and here. The basics:
Jerome Crance was hospitalized on three separate occasions after the ball struck him in the eye, his lawyer Dennis Koltun said Tuesday.The Hawai’i Supreme Court rejected a similar case earlier this year, as I discussed in this post. In Florida, the issue of a golfer’s ability to recover from a co-participant was squarely addressed by an appellate court over thirty years ago. In Rindley v. Goldberg, 297 So.2d 140 (Fla. App. 1974), a golfer sued after she was hit by a ball struck by another member of her foursome. The court was able to resolve the dispute in just three paragraphs: “Viewing the above facts in the light most favorable to the party moved against, we conclude therefrom that plaintiff’s injury was a result of the certain obvious and ordinary risks of the sport of golfing which she assumed as a member of a golfing foursome with full knowledge of the normal dangers of participating therein.” Perhaps the plaintiff is hoping Mashburn will offer him some money as a nuisance settlement, since the Rindley case would seem to doom his litigation.
The plaintiff might find some solace in a somewhat more recent case in which a golfer (at a Par 3 course) hit a ball which ricocheted back and hit him in the eye. In that case, Potter v. Green Meadows, Par 3, 510 So.2d 1225 (Fla. App. 1987), while denying defendant summary judgment on an express assumption of risk theory, the court implied that it might not extend the contact sports rule on assumption of risk to golf ("There is no evidence of an express covenant not to sue in this case and golf is not generally recognized as a "contact sport.'").
I wonder if Mashburn is wishing he'd taken up horses at UK instead...