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Greenbrier Classic Loses Hole-in-One Case, Now Sues Broker

March 3, 2017

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One of the events at the well-known Greenbrier Classic golf tournament in West Virginia is the Hole-in-one Jackpot, where the fans seated in the grandstands win cash prizes if the golfers land a hole-in-one on the 18th hole.
In order to limit their exposure, the operators of the golf tournament (Old White) obtained an insurance policy that would pay out in the event they awarded prize money.  One of the conditions of the policy required that the 18th hole be at least 150 yards from the tee.
During the 2015 tournament, two golfers nailed holes-in-one, and the operators paid out about $200,000 in prize money.  But the insurers disclaimed coverage because the hole was only 137 yards.
<a href="http://www.propertyinsurancecoveragelaw.com/files/2017/01/Talbot-T1554094xB2E7A.pdf">The organizers sued</a>, claiming that they made it plain when they applied for coverage that the PGA was in charge of pin placement and that they would not know -- or have any control -- over the distance of the hole.  Each party moved for summary judgment, and the insurers' argument was simple: that despite whatever expectation that the organizer had, the language of the policy regarding the 150 yard minimum was very clear.  The Court thus ruled in favor of the insurers.
But Old White has now <a href="https://dlbjbjzgnk95t.cloudfront.net/0895000/895649/https-ecf-wvsd-uscourts-gov-doc1-20117397058.pdf">sued their insurance brokers</a>, claiming that the brokers were fully aware that the organizers had no control over pin placement, that the organizers were never advised about the distance limits, and that the brokers knew that Old White did not want a policy with a distance limit.
WCM will continue to follow this saga, and please write to <a href="mailto: mbono@wcmlaw.com">Mike Bono</a> for more information.

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