Personal Injury on Public Property Settlement
The Hermosa Beach victim was at Manhattan Beach’s Polliwog Park in the summer of 2012 watching her daughter’s track practice. While Lederer’s client was watching the track practice, an errant Frisbee golf disc hit her in the face leading to permanent blindness. Despite several surgical attempts at restoring her eyesight and accumulating hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical costs, the injured victim will likely never regain her eyesight in the damaged eye. Frisbee golf has since been banned at Polliwog as a result of this case and other injuries suffered over the years. Lederer argued that the golf course should never have been permitted in the first place as it put park goers at risk. Furthermore, signage and warnings about the presence of the golf course were nearly non-existent. Manhattan Beach seems to agree: the sport should not be allowed at this particular park. The city also acknowledges that the victim deserves compensation for her injuries and suffering resulting from what many consider a harmless pastime.
Frisbee golf discs are far different from the familiar plastic discs usually referred to as “Frisbees.” The golf discs are heavy and come in variety of weights depending on the “shot” the player is trying to achieve. Some discs are used for long-range “drives” while others are used for shorter and more precision shots. The ultimate goal is a shot into the large metal basket that represents the “hole.” However, as in traditional golf, the travelling object can reach high speeds over great distances and may not always fly as accurately as the player intends. This particular case was not about suing the individual player as misdirected shots are to be expected. Instead, the city has been forced to take responsibility for putting the public at risk.
Frisbee golf is not fundamentally more dangerous than many other sports. Having it played alongside park goers, athletic teams and other bystanders is needlessly hazardous, however. Clearly the city agrees and was persuaded by David Lederer. Unfortunately a tragic injury had to result before change was implemented.
For more information about the case, see this CBS LA report from 2014, this article from the same year, or this October 2015 article published in the Daily Breeze.