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Tuesday, May 16, 2006


HAWAII SUPREME COURT: GOLFERS NOT LIABLE FOR ERRANT BALLS 

The next time you go golfing in Hawaii, make sure you're with someone that you completely trust!

The Hawaii Supreme Court has ruled a golfer may not be held liable for mistakenly hitting another golfer with an errant golf ball.
In a unanimous decision, the court upheld a lower court ruling to dismiss Ryan Yoneda's lawsuit against Andrew Tom, whose wayward ball hit Yoneda in the eye at Mililani Golf Course in 1999.

Chief Justice Ronald Moon wrote Yoneda assumed the risk of the injury when he played golf.

It is "common knowledge that not every shot played by a golfer goes exactly where he intends it to go," the ruling said, adding there wouldn't be much "sport" in the "sport of golf," if golf balls went exactly where the player wanted.

The April 28 ruling makes clear a golfer who intentionally hits a ball to inflict injury, or recklessly hits the ball knowing that injury is highly likely, would not be exempt from liability.

Yoneda filed suit after Tom's ball hit his left eye.

The impact of the ball left Yoneda with a black-eye bruise that didn't go away for a month-and-a-half. His eye welled shut and he also suffered permanent vision damage.

The court considered whether golfers should have to shout "fore" or other warnings to protect other players. The justices concluded, however, that doing so was golf etiquette, not a requirement recognized by law.


This ruling should come as no surprise. It would be a stretch to think that failing to yell "fore" would be a breach of some legal duty.

USATODAY.com - Hawaii Supreme Court rules golfers not liable for errant balls

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