Pennsylvania Record

Monday, January 27, 2020

Golfer hit by ball on Lancaster Co. course shanks his chance to sue

State Court

By Karen Kidd | Nov 4, 2019

Golf recap 2 form 1084

HARRISBURG — An East Earl Township golfer allegedly hit by a ball on a Lancaster County course in 2015 can't sue because he didn't follow proper legal procedures in a timely manner, a state intermediate appellate court recently ruled.  

In an 11-page memorandum issued Oct. 22, the Superior Court of Pennsylvania affirmed a Lancaster County judge's earlier dismissal of Todd Phillips' case. The Superior Court judges agreed that Phillips failed to be sure the owners of Foxchase Golf Club in Stevens knew that he intended to sue.

The panel rejected Phillips' attempt to blame a prothonotary for not sending notice to Foxchase and also didn't accept Phillips' argument that Foxchase knew a lawsuit was imminent because his lawyer had contacted Foxchase to negotiate a settlement.

The panel countered that the June 2015 letter sent from Phillips' lawyer implied a "settlement and not a lawsuit" and that it "merely advises [Foxchase]'s counsel that Foxchase's insurer is investigating the claim and requests counsel's theory of liability," the memorandum said.

Failure to ensure an original writ was served on Foxchase was fatal to Phillips' lawsuit because the statute of limitations had been allowed to pass.

Superior Court Judge Carolyn H. Nichols wrote the memorandum in which Judge Alice Beck Dubow and Judge John L. Musmanno concurred.

Phillips filed his lawsuit in September 2018, more than three years after he claimed to have been struck by a ball at Foxchase in May 2015. Phillips claimed another golfer teed off before Phillips had left the green. Phillips claims he suffered a broken leg as a result of the ball strike.

In his lawsuit, Phillips alleged, among other things, that Foxchase had been negligent in "permitting golfers to hit golf balls while others were still on the fairway" and failed "to provide marshals for the tournament," the background portion of the memorandum said.

Phillips appealed the dismissal of the case this past March, arguing the trial court erred "because he made a good faith effort to serve the writ of summons and had no intention to stall the judicial process," the memorandum said.

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