Several friends headed for a bachelor party golf outing that, perhaps typically, included lots of beer, tequila, marijuana, and crazy golf-cart driving.
Shockingly, things went awry on the 16th hole, and one of the golfers soon became a defendant. He hit his first shot in the woods, then took a mulligan and then took a “Happy Gilmore” shot.
In case you do not have a younger brother who watches the movie at least once every Christmas, that means he backed up five or so feet and then moved forward quickly to strike the ball.
Unfortunately, he hit the ball directly into another member of his party, who still went to the wedding but eventually sued for injuries to his hand and wrist.
Legal Blog Watch pointed out the story here.
How this case should come out sounds like a first year torts exam. And the answer, the Novia Scotia Supreme Court court said, is that the errant swing breached the standard of care the defendant owed to his fellow goflers. He did not warn the players ahead of him, and the opinion said the court was “convinced that the “Happy Gilmore” shot would have been less controllable than a normal tee shot.”
Assuming your friend will back up and hit a golf shot directly at you — with a running headstart, no less — is not one of the “natural risks” of golf.
Ashby Jones at theWSJ Law Blog highlighted some interesting facts from the opinion: at the time of the shot the defendant had had nine beers and half of pint of tequila; the defendant and one of his compatriots nearly drove their cart into a pond.
To all gentlemen and my little brother: you’ve been warned. The “Happy Gilmore” shot actually can get you in trouble. At least in Canada.
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