OK, get this. Lillian Demo was minding her own business working in her backyard on August 25, 2005. when a golf ball smacked her on the head. I can't even imagine the pain she must have felt from that golf ball. My ex-husband plays golf and I've seen first hand how hard a golf ball gets hit. I'm sure her head hurt for a good long time. Oh, yes, did I mention her house happens to be next to a golf course?
Let's fast forward to 2007: Ms. Demo is suffering from Migraines that are very debilitating. It is now time to sue the golfer, Raymond Kinney, for negligence because he didn't swing properly, had bad aim, and didn't forewarn her correctly that a ball was off course. Ummmm, I'm pretty sure getting smacked on the head with a golf ball doesn't cause Migraine disease. You see, current thinking is that Migraine is a genetic neurological disease caused by overactive neurons in our brains and genetics. It's possible, though, that this golf ball incident triggered her Migraines into action, so to speak, that she'd just never had strong triggers before or that being hit with the golf ball made her more susceptible to her triggers. I think when I fell, the mild-traumatic brain injury I suffered may have done the same to my Migraines (and an entire list of other things).
Anyway, this is what Judge John Elsner had to say, "a golfer owes a duty of ordinary care to persons lawfully on property adjacent to a golf course." Apparently, New York and California have state laws that people who buy homes next to golf courses assume any risk involved with living near them. This is the most common sense law I've ever heard. But Illinois does not have a law like this. St. Andrew's Golf Course and Country Club was built in 1926. I believe Ms. Demo's and surrounding homes were built after 1960. Clearly, she knew there was a golf course when she purchased her home, that probably was part of the appeal. So why does Mr. Kinney have to pay for her decision to live near said golf course? Isn't that a risk she took when she moved in? I can pretty much guarantee that Mr. Kinney would have preferred to get a hole in one or eagle rather than hit Ms. Demo on the head. Doubtful he used the wrong club from what I've read, and there were at least 15 other golf balls in her backyard after the incident.
I'm sorry for her pain. But seriously, talk about sue happy?
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Related information by Megan Oltman: Migraines & Driving Don't Mix
Baurnam, Art. "Judge makes key ruling in case of the errant golf ball." Chicago Breaking News Center.com. Chicago Tribune. February 11, 2010.
Barnum, Art. "Judge: jury to consider negligence in golf lawsuit." Chicago Tribune. Change of Subject. February 12, 2010.
Bird, Bill. "Slice could leave golfer on hook in lawsuit." The Becon-News. TheBeconNewsOnline.Come. February 14, 2010.
© Nancy H. Bonk
Last updated February 14, 2010.
Published On: February 14, 2010