Golfer Johnny Shin was hit on the head by a tee shot of afellow member of his threesome, Jack Ahn. At the time of the injury, Shin wasabout 35 feet away, although Ahn didn’t see him.
Shin filed a lawsuit against Ahn for negligence. Ahnasserted four legal defenses, including the sports assumption of risk defense.
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But injured Shin argued the assumption of sports riskdefense shouldn’t apply in this situation because, he alleged, Ahn wasnegligent in failing to determine the location of the other golfers in histhreesome.
If you were the judge would you rule the assumption ofsports risk defense protects golfer Ahn from negligence liability to Shin?
The judge said no!
The assumption of sports risk defense has two components,the judge began. One is the primary assumption of risk for a party’s ownconduct, he continued, such as a skier who breaks his leg.
But a secondary assumption of sports risk defense applies toanother party’s breach of a duty of care, as occurred in this case, the judgeexplained.
“The secondary assumption of risk doctrine has beenmerged into the comparative negligence system,” he emphasized. However,Shin may have been partially negligent for failure to notify Ahn of hiswhereabouts just 35 feet away, the judge noted.
Although the assumption of sports risk defense can preventliability for a stray golf ball that hits a spectator or a golfer on anadjacent hole, that defense does not prevent liability in this situation, thejudge ruled. Golfer Ahn had a duty of care to ascertain the location of othermembers of his threesome, the judge concluded.
Based on the 2006 California Court of Appeals decision in Shinv. Ahn, 46 Cal.Rptr.3rd 271.
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Copyright 2006 Inman News