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Heiden v. Cummings

March 13, 2003

CHERYL HEIDEN, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
JOE CUMMINGS, DEFENDANT-APPELLEE.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Lake County. No. 00-AR-199 Honorable Emilio B. Santi, Judge, Presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Grometer

Released for publication March 18, 2003.

CHERYL HEIDEN, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
JOE CUMMINGS, DEFENDANT-APPELLEE.

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Lake County. No. 00-AR-199 Honorable Emilio B. Santi, Judge, Presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Grometer

PUBLISH

Plaintiff, Cheryl Heiden, brought this negligence lawsuit in the circuit court of Lake County seeking recovery for personal injuries she allegedly suffered when struck by a golf ball hit by defendant, Joe Cummings. The trial court entered partial summary judgment for defendant on certain allegations of negligence, and the cause proceeded to a jury trial on the remaining negligence allegations. The jury returned a verdict for defendant, and the trial court entered judgment on the verdict. On appeal, plaintiff challenges the partial summary judgment. We affirm.

The pleadings establish that on May 5, 1999, plaintiff was playing golf at a country club in McHenry. As she was playing near the 17th green, defendant was preparing to tee off at the 18th tee. Defendant's shot veered off sharply to the left and struck plaintiff's ankle. Plaintiff alleged that defendant's negligence consisted of one or more of the following acts or omissions:

"(a) [Defendant] [d]id not properly swing his club at the ball so as to hit his ball in the direction of the eighteenth hole where he was aiming;

(b) [Defendant] [f]ailed to maintain a proper lookout;

(c) [Defendant] [f]ailed to give warning of his misguided shot to the Plaintiff, by orally shouting 'Fore' or by other means;

(d) [Defendant] [w]as otherwise careless and negligent in shooting his golf shot as aforesaid directly at the Plaintiff ***."

At her deposition, plaintiff described her position relative to defendant with reference to a clock face: defendant was located at 6 o'clock, plaintiff was at 8 o'clock, and the 18th hole was at 12 o'clock or 1 o'clock. She further testified that she was about 25 feet from defendant when his ball struck her. In contrast, defendant testified at his deposition that if he was located at 6 o'clock, the pin on the 18th green was at about 12 o'clock, and the 17th green was at 7 o'clock. He estimated that he was about 30 yards from plaintiff, but acknowledged that he might have been closer.

Defendant further testified that he was aiming for the 18th green, but as soon as he hit the ball, he knew it was a bad shot. He glimpsed the ball veer to the left and strike plaintiff. He testified that he could not tell whether he had closed his club face or hit the ball with ...


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