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Pasadena can't claim immunity for child's brain damage

The second division Court of Appeal reversed an earlier ruling by a Los Angeles Superior Court judge on May 4, 2017. The lower court's judge had previously decided that the City of Pasadena enjoyed immunity in the case of a young boy who was struck by an errant golf ball and suffered resulting brain injury at the city's Brookside Golf Course.

The young boy's mother was pushing him in his stroller along a walkway nearby the golf course's 15th hole in September of 2011 when he was struck in the head by the ball. He was taken to Children's Hospital at the time the incident occurred and was later transported to Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena after he was determined to have suffered a brain injury.

The American Golf Corporation, the golf course's management company, in arguing its case in front of the first judge, argued that it had done its part to protect bystanders from injury. Its attorneys argued that they had not only posted signs warning of the potential for errant golf balls, but had installed high fences to keep balls from getting away as well.

In response, the plaintiff maintained that their fences were allegedly too low to protect and that fairways were unreasonably narrow, making errant balls much more prone to occur. Furthermore, the plaintiff's attorney argued that, with respect to warning signs, it wasn't clear that they included walkways around the golf course or if they were even present in the first place at the time the incident occurred.

The chief justice referenced the case of Leyva v. Crocket & Co., Inc. (2017) 7 Cal.App.5th 1105 as the guiding case for the panel's ultimate decision. In that case, a man was struck by an errant golf ball while also walking along pedestrian trails nearby a golf course. In that case, the presiding judge determined that immunity didn't extend to dangerous situations encountered on nearby properties.

As for the mother in this case, she is seeking damages for not only her son's medical bills and pain and suffering, but also emotional distress and future medical bills as well. These are all expenses that, in working with her personal injury attorney, she has a high probability of recovering giving the ruling on the appeal that was passed down in this case.

Source:, "Court of Appeal rejects immunity defense in suit by child hit by errant golf ball," May 04, 2017

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