Baker v. Mid Maine Medical Center

Baker v. Mid Maine Medical Center

The plaintiff, Harold Baker, appeals from a verdict directed for the defendants by the Superior Court (Hancock County) at the conclusion of the plaintiff’s case. He argues on appeal that the trial justice erred in determining that on the evidence presented a jury could not have rationally concluded that the defendants Mid Maine Medical Center (MMMC) and Waterville Country Club (Waterville C.C.) negligently failed to take adequate precautions to prevent him from being struck by a golf ball at a golfing exhibition. We conclude that there was sufficient evidence of defendants’ negligence to warrant submission of the case to the jury and therefore we vacate the judgment. The evidence presented at trial may be summarized as follows: On June 24, 1981, the plaintiff, an experienced golfer, attended a golfing exhibition held at the Waterville C.C., that featured the well-known professional golfer, Tom Watson. MMMC sponsored the event as part of a fund raising drive and charged an admission fee. Approximately 2500 people attended. The program included a clinic in the morning followed by a nine-hole golfing exhibition in the afternoon. As part of the afternoon exhibition, Watson played nine holes of golf. On any one hole, four individuals paid money for the privilege of playing along with Watson. No one other than these individuals played on the golf course during the exhibition. The plaintiff followed the exhibition for the first two holes but skipped the third and fourth holes in order to rest. At the fifth hole, he watched Watson and the four individuals accompanying Watson hit their first shots from the tee. The plaintiff stood 250 to 300 yards from the tee and twenty-five to thirty feet back from the edge of the fairway. Watson’s shot landed in the woods on the opposite side of the fairway. While the plaintiff watched Watson disappear into the woods in search of his golf ball, he heard someone shout “”fore.”” Immediately thereafter, a golf ball struck him in the chest. The ball hit him directly at the point where an incision had been made several months earlier when the plaintiff had undergone heart surgery. As a result of the impact, the plaintiff suffered further injury.

Baker v. Mid Maine Medical Center



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