Case details

Golfer claimed country club did not properly build tee box





Result type

Not present

ankle, ankle ligament, tear
On a Saturday morning in January 2013, plaintiff Eric Davis, a business development employee in his 40s, was preparing to begin a round of golf at Almaden Golf & Country Club, in San Jose. As Davis was walking back to his golf cart, he stopped and stood with one foot on the step to the first tee box. The country club had previously used railroad tires to create tee boxes, but in 2011, it removed the railroad ties and replaced them with blocks to build the steps to the first tee box. The country club then topped the block with capstones to complete the steps. Davis claimed that as he threw grass in the air to check the wind conditions, the capstone under his left foot began to tilt under his weight, causing his left ankle to roll left. He claimed that he subsequently fell onto the cart path, landing on his left side, and sustained to his left ankle. Davis sued Almaden Golf & Country Club, alleging that the country club failed to properly maintain the steps to the first tee box, creating a dangerous condition. Plaintiff’s counsel contended that Almaden Golf & Country Club failed to affix the capstone with adhesive, as recommended by the manufacturer. Thus, counsel argued that the country club had notice of the hazardous condition, as it created the condition by building the steps. The plaintiff’s biomechanics expert opined that given the geometrical configuration of the capstone and blocks, it was possible for the capstone to have moved in relation to the base block, as described by Davis. Defense counsel argued that Almaden Golf & Country Club had no notice of the alleged dangerous condition and that the country club never learned of any prior incident involving the steps to the first tee box. Counsel also argued that Davis was comparatively negligent for not using the step properly. The defense’s biomechanics expert bought the same blocks and capstone, and attempted to recreate the condition and alleged accident. However, the expert opined that there was no way the capstone could have moved as Davis alleged., Davis claimed he sustained ligament tears and cartilage damage in his left ankle. He was subsequently taken by a friend to the emergency room at a local hospital, which initially thought that Davis only had a severe sprain at that time. Davis attempted conservative treatment, but he underwent an ankle surgery in an attempt to reconstruct the ligaments and tendons in April 2013. No hardware was placed during the procedure. Ultimately, Davis had to undergo another ankle surgery in October 2014. Davis was non-weight bearing for months and, at times, he required the use of a boot and scooter. He claimed that despite treatment, he continues to suffer weakness and pain in his ankle and foot. The plaintiff’s foot and ankle expert testified that once the cartilage is damaged in the ankle, it never fully restores itself. The expert opined that Davis could eventually require additional treatment and surgery. Defense counsel disputed the cause of Davis’ alleged ankle , but did not dispute his past treatment. The defense’s orthopedic expert disagreed that Davis would require future treatment.
Superior Court of Santa Clara County, Santa Clara, CA

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