Mainland GC Cleared in Golfer’s Fall

The Harleysville, Pa., course received a favorable verdict in a case filed by a man who sued after he tripped and fell while playing golf at the course, claiming that a dropoff near the ball-washing station had caused him to fracture his ankle. The jury found the course to only be 25 percent liable and the plaintiff 75 percent liable, denying damages under Pennsylvania law.

Mainland Golf Course in Harleysville, Pa. won’t have to pay damages in a liability case, The Legal Intelligencer reported, after it was sued by a man who tripped and fell while playing the course, suffering a fractured ankle.

Robert Howe, 51, filed the premises-liability lawsuit against the golf course and its owner, Mainland Golf Course Holding Co. Inc., after he was injured in a fall on July 25, 2012. After hearing the case, The Legal Intelligencer reported, a Montgomery County (Pa.) jury found Mainland 25 percent liable and Howe 75 percent liable. Under Pennsylvania law, which bars recovery of damages if a plaintiff is 51 percent or more at fault, Howe was denied damages.

According to The Legal Intelligencer, while playing Mainland’s ninth hole, Howe surveyed the course and then returned to his cart to retrieve a club when he tripped and fell.

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In testimony, The Legal Intelligencer reported, Howe said that as he walked to his cart, the ball-washing station was to his right and he stepped into a drop off of about six inches that was part of the landscaping, fracturing his right ankle. Howe alleged the dropoff created a hazard and was the direct result of negligent maintenance by the club, The Legal Intelligencer reported.

In testimony, Howe, described as an avid golfer, said he’d never come across conditions like that at any other course he’d played, The Legal Intelligencer reported.

The golf course’s attorney maintained that Howe was also negligent because he accessed the wash station from the rear, rather than the normal front entry.

Mainland’s expert in civil engineering determined that the dimensions of the area surrounding the ball-washing station were in accordance with normal golf-course design, and that any perceived drop-off was minimal.