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The Knucklehead of the Day award

Today's winner is attorney Barry M. Scotch. He gets the award for the following-

Paul Sanchez, a 67-year-old "occasional" golfer, sued Candia Woods Golf Links this week over an accident that left him blind in one eye.

Sanchez, of 20 Country Club Drive, Manchester, was golfing with two or three friends in September 2006 when a ball he hit bounced off a yardage-marker and "whacked him" in the right eye, according to his attorney, Barry M. Scotch.

"Before he could even -- pardon the expression -- blink, he was hit," Scotch said. "It just ricocheted right back at him."

In the lawsuit, Sanchez faults the course's owners for failing to warn him about the markers, which are used by golfers to decide what type of club to use and how much effort to put into a swing.

Sanchez is seeking unspecified damages, claiming the markers were made of material too rigid to be safe for the course, according to the suit filed in Rockingham County Superior Court. He also blames the mishap on a lack of warning about the markers and improper placement in the middle of the fairway.

The suit contends the course didn't warn Sanchez about the risk in the pro shop, on the scorecard or on any tee boxes.

This is just an insanely dumb lawsuit. I love the following quote from Mr. Scotch.

"It's not a frivolous, run-it-up-the-flagpole-and-see-who-salutes kind of thing," Scotch said.
I didn't know lawsuits were run up flagpoles. Barry M Scotch you are today's Knucklehead of the Day.


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Comments (8)

This opens so many possibil... (Below threshold)

This opens so many possibilities:
1) No warning about skin damage due to sunburn
2) No warning of insect bites on the course
3) No warning of leg cramps from walking
4) No warning of shoulder strain due to swinging
5) No warning heat exhaustion due to hot weather
6) No warning heat attack due to over exertion

When the law is in your favor, argue the law. When it's not in your favor, baffle the jury with bull shit. Remember, the US education system is in our favor.

Final thought: Next time your in Home Depot, look at all the warning stickers on a ladder. Their all there because of lawsuits.

why limit the award to the ... (Below threshold)

why limit the award to the lawyer, why not award it to the golfer as well? He's the one who hit the ball. And let's recognize that ambulance chasers still need a 'victim' to proceed; had the golfer been a man, he would have acknowledged it was his own damn fault.

Some time, someone is going... (Below threshold)

Some time, someone is going to file a lawsuit against some company for Yet Another Stupid Reason, and a creative corporate lawyer will file the equivalent of a Baker Act request, and have the plaintiff committed to a mental institution because they're a danger to themselves or others.

I've always thought there s... (Below threshold)

I've always thought there should be a citizen panel, kind of like a grand jury, that would review lawsuits to determine if they have any merit before wasting the court's time.

I'm going to have to put in... (Below threshold)
Edward Sisson Author Profile Page:

I'm going to have to put in a few words in favor of the golfer and his lawyer on this one. I am not a golfer, so let me ask: is it really customary to put a hard vertical object in what is normally the field of play -- the middle of the fairway -- close enough to the tee that if your shot hits it, the shot will rebound back towards the golfer that fast? It seems to me to be negligent to install a hard obstruction in the field of play which is not typically part of the play of that game.

For example, the bases in a baseball field can cause players to trip or get bruised in a slide, and players must live with that, but if the field designers installed bases that are 4 inches thicker (and thus higher) than normal, making it much more likely to trip, or if they put in bases made of concrete instead of fabric, causing injuries when runners slide into them, I think there may be a valid negligence claim.

As to the failure-to-warn stuff, sure it sounds silly, especially when the obstruction was obviously visible, but when you draft a complaint you need to be comprehensive in noticing all the claims you can think of.

My two bits, anyway.

"I am not a golfer, so l... (Below threshold)

"I am not a golfer, so let me ask: is it really customary to put a hard vertical object in what is normally the field of play -- the middle of the fairway -- close enough to the tee that if your shot hits it, the shot will rebound back towards the golfer that fast?"

First, there's no indication in the story that the ball was hit from the tee, so I doubt that the marker was close enough to the tee that it would bounce back and hit anybody. This wouldn't be useful for any golfer, regardless of their ability. Unless of course, the managers of the golf course are complete idiots, which is a remote possibility. Markers of any type are usually 200 yards into the fairway on any par 4 or 5.

Second, aside from that detail, the answer to your question is a resounding, "yes". Not only yardage markers, but markers indicating the middle of the fairway, and markers indicating the direction of the green. These aren't found on every single course, but on enough to make it something golfers are accustomed to seeing. It's a stupid lawsuit. The chances of hitting one of these markers are very, very unlikely, and the chance of having the ball hit the marker and hit someone in the eye has got to be astronomical. In fact, I would say it's easier to get a hole-in-one than for something like that to happen.

If anything, this guy has to be the most unlucky person in the world.

Two other things I'd like t... (Below threshold)

Two other things I'd like to add.

First, from the story, I have to assume the marker was directly in front of the guy when he hit his ball. It sounds to me that he was either blind before he hit his ball, or that he was too dumb to realize the ball hitting the marker and bouncing back at him was a remote possibility.

Second, if he thinks the marker was made out of a material too rigid to be safe for the course, what does he think of trees on a golf course? I've been behind plenty of trees before, and have hit over them, through them (between the branches, trees are 90% air, according to golf folklore), and yes, have hit them and had them bounce back at me. They're just as much, if not more, of a hazard than a freaking yardage marker.

So it appears to me that not only is he the most unlucky guy in the world, he's also close to being the most idiotic golfer in the world.

"run-it-up-the-flagpole-and... (Below threshold)


....is the very definition of frivolous.






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