Court Revives Lawsuit Over Runaway Golf Cart Injury in New Jersey

February 11, 2020

A state appeals court on Friday revived a lawsuit by a golfer who suffered a serious leg injury when he was hit by a cart driven by another golfer.

Thomas McKeown claimed Philip Capavanni shouldn’t have let his 82-year-old father-in-law drive the cart because Capavanni should have known the older man didn’t know how to operate it.

Brian Robinson, a Scottish native visiting the U.S., said an object fell onto the floor of the cart while he was driving toward a green and wedged under the brake pedal, preventing him from stopping before he ran into McKeown at Beaver Brook Country Club in Annandale in 2015.

Capavanni saw McKeown’s leg was “split open” and used his belt as a makeshift tourniquet, according to Friday’s ruling.

A lower court judge had disagreed with McKeown’s contention that Capavanni acted negligently by allowing Robinson to operate the cart. The judge concluded that the falling object was an unforeseen event that should carry more weight than Robinson’s unfamiliarity with driving golf carts.

The appeals court disagreed, writing Friday that “the placing of a loose item in a place in a vehicle where it could interfere with the operator’s use of the cart’s pedals seems reasonably foreseeable,” and that the question was for a jury to decide.

A message seeking comment was left Friday with an attorney representing Capavanni.

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