A Good Walk Gone Bad: Golfer’s Claim Against Golf Course Dismissed (NY)
In Conrad v. Holiday Valley Inc., plaintiff slipped and fell on a stairway landing while playing golf at defendants’ golf course. He ascended a stairway used to access the tee box on the twelfth hole and then took a measurement from the tee box using his range finder. When he went to return to his golf cart, he stepped onto the landing at the top of the stairway, slipped on a wooden board, and fell, suffering injuries to both of his knees.
Defendants moved for summary judgment dismissing the complaint on the ground that plaintiff assumed the risks associated with playing golf. Supreme Court denied the motion. Defendants appealed and the Appellate Division reversed the lower court decision.
The Appellate Court held that defendants demonstrated that, at the time of the incident, plaintiff knew that the course was still wet from rain that had just fallen, and that he was familiar with the stairway in question, having just used it moments before his accident. For those reasons, we conclude that defendants met their initial burden by establishing that plaintiff was aware of the risk posed by the stairway and assumed it.
The doctrine of assumption of the risk acts as a complete bar to recovery where a plaintiff is injured in the course of a sporting or recreational activity through a risk inherent in that activity The Court reasoned that golfers who use the course can get injured due to the playing conditions. Since the course was wet, the plaintiff should have been aware of the potential for injury of the mechanism from which the injury. Defendants established on their motion that plaintiff was an experienced golfer who had played defendants’ golf course several times in the past Since plaintiffs failed to raise a triable issue of fact whether plaintiff was subjected to “unassumed, concealed or unreasonably increased risks” the defendants’ motion was granted.
Thanks to Paul Vitale for his contribution to this post. Any questions, please contact Georgia Coats.