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New York Keeps Lawsuits Off Golf Course

New York’s highest court today affirmed dismissal of a case brought by one golf buddy against another that was cited as an example of the litigiousness for which New York City gained a mention on this year’s “Watch List.”

The case stemmed from an accident at a Long Island course in which a “shanked” shot by Dr. Anoop Kapoor hit his frequent golf partner, Dr. Azad Anand, blinding him in one eye. Although Dr. Kapoor claimed that he yelled “fore” to warn his friend, Dr. Anand, who was searching for his ball on the fairway just 15 to 20 feet away at an angle of 60 to 80 degrees, did not hear the call.

“A person who chooses to participate in a sport or recreational activity consents to certain risks that are inherent in and arise out of the nature of the sport generally and flow from such participation,” the Court of Appeals recognized.  It found that the nature of the accident reflected a commonly appreciated risk of golf.

Had the Court of Appeals reached a different result, New York would have opened the door to more lawsuits stemming from the inherent risks of sporting and other recreational activities.

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