Pfenning v. Lineman

Facts: Cassie Pfenning agreed with her mother’s consent to ride in a beverage cart with her grandfather Jerry Jones at a golf scramble being held at Elk’s golf course that was being sponsored by Whitey 31 Club. Pfenning was unfamiliar with the sport and etiquette and had only been to one other golf course nine years ago. Without hearing a warning a ball hit by Lineman struck Pfenning in the mouth near the 18th hole. Pfenning filed a complaint against Lineman, Whitey’s, the Elks Club and others alleging negligence.


Issue: Whether or not there is a duty for a participant in a sports activity to another to prevent injury resulting from an inherent risk to the sport.


Rule: The assumption of risk can be implied by the plaintiff’s knowledge of the risk and subsequent conduct. “There is no…”


Application: Pfenning was aware of the inherent risks of golf, namely that it involves players hitting golf balls long distances and that some, if not many, of these balls invariably fail to land where intended.


Conclusion: Given Pfenning’s status as a participant in the golf scramble, with its inherent risks, the court found that the Defendants did not owe here a duty.


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