Sweeney Law Firm case argued before the Indiana Supreme Court
Justices to hear arguments at Bloomington law school in the Pfenning case September 10, 2010 The Indiana Supreme Court travels to Bloomington Monday to hear arguments in the case of a teenage girl who was injured by a golf ball while driving the beverage cart at a golf outing. The Indiana Supreme Court travels to Bloomington Monday to hear arguments in the case of a teenage girl who was injured by a golf ball while driving the beverage cart at a golf outing.
Arguments begin at noon in the Moot Courtroom at Indiana University Maurer School of Law, 211 S. Indiana Ave., for Cassie E. Pfenning v. Joseph Lineman, et al., No. 27S02-1006-CV-331. Cassie Pfenning was 16 years old when she attended a golf scramble with her grandfather, Jerry Jones, to work a beverage golf cart. Jones ended up playing in the scramble, so he left Pfenning in the care of his sister. The two were in the golf cart without a roof or windshield when Joseph Lineman's golf ball flew more than 70 yards before hitting Pfenning in the mouth, causing severe injuries to her teeth, mouth, and jaw.
Judges Carr Darden and Melissa May affirmed summary judgment for the defendants, which included the club, promoters, and Pfenning’s grandfather, ruling that the defendants didn’t have a duty to protect the teen from injury; weren’t negligent in their supervision of her; and there wasn’t a breach of duty of reasonable care under premises liability. The majority also extended the definition of participants from Geiersbach v. Frieje, 807 N.E.2d 114 (Ind. Ct. App. 2004), to include not only players, coaches, or players on the bench during the game, but also sporting event volunteers.
Judge James Kirsch dissented because he believed that since Pfenning was on the property as a business invitee, the golf club had a duty of care; he also found her grandfather owed her a duty of reasonable care because she was entrusted into his care during the tournament. Judge Kirsch declined to extend the ruling in Geiersbach to include the facts of this case.