Relax, golf duffers. Slices, hooks and worm killers are a "commonly appreciated risk" of the sport, New York's top court said Tuesday in upholding a lower court's dismissal of a Long Island doctor's personal injury lawsuit against a golfing partner.
The Court of Appeals said in a unanimous decision that Dr. Anoop Kapoor was not obligated to yell "fore" when his errant shot hit Dr. Azad Anand in the left eye in 2002.
A phone call seeking comment from Anand's Carle Place attorney, Steven Cohn, was not immediately returned Tuesday.
According to Anand's suit, he suffered retinal detachment and permanent loss of vision in the injured eye. As a result of the injury, Anand's practice was "extraordinarily limited," his suit said.
"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 said in its ruling.
Anand was injured on Kapoor's shot from the rough on Oct. 19, 2002, at a Dix Hills course. The two physicians and a third man had teed off from the first of nine holes, and Kapoor's second shot found the rough, court papers said.
With Anand and the third man in the fairway, Kapoor's shot veered right, striking Anand.
Anand testified Kapoor never shouted "fore," the traditional warning of a golf shot gone awry. Kapoor said he shouted a warning when he saw where his ball was going; Anand and the third man said they never heard it.
"Kapoor's failure to warn of his intent to strike the ball did not amount to intentional or reckless conduct, and did not unreasonably increase the risks inherent in golf to which Anand consented," the ruling stated.
Anand sued in October 2005 in State Supreme Court in Mineola, but a judge dismissed the case two years later, saying that getting hit by a ball is an inherent risk of the game.
A lower appellate court then upheld the decision last year, saying Kapoor had no duty to give a warning because evidence indicates that Anand "was at so great an angle away from the defendant and the intended line of flight that he was not in the foreseeable danger zone."