I could relate to Alexander’s story this week about the family who sued a country club about all the golf balls hitting their house. First, the story:
Erik and Athina Tenczar were upset about golf balls being hit into the home they bought on Country Club Way in Kingston, Mass. So after trying to get the Indian Pond Country Club to address the problem (it says it tried), they sued. They won nearly $5 million, including interest, plus an injunction. The amount reflects property damage in the form of dented walls and shattered windows, including one over a play kitchen (they have three young daughters), plus emotional distress. “When it hits, it sounds like a gunshot,” Athina Tenczar said. Almost 700 golf balls have flown onto their land, and children at play used bicycle helmets to protect them from the projectiles. The club will appeal. Its lawyer says it has an easement over the residences adjoining the golf course. (AC/Boston Globe, WCVB Boston) …Home buyers beware: if someone has an easement, you may not have much ease.
My situation wasn’t so dire.
Short Version: I lived along (as I recall) the 14th fairway of a country club. Never again.
Long Version: Plenty of balls landed in my yard, pool (almost always punching through the floating cover), and roof, but only once did one come through the window.
I was out, and came home to find my Writer’s Cat, Clancy, batting a golf ball around on the floor. “Where did you get that?” I wondered. Then I noticed the glass on the floor, and worried that he may have cut a paw. Then I noticed the hole in the kitchen window.
A phone call to the country club brought “I’ll transfer you to the Golf Pro,” and I explained the problem. “I think I know who that was,” the Pro said. “I’ll have him contact you.”
A few hours later the doorbell rang. I opened the door and was almost immediately blinded by a man’s bright, lime-green sweater, fluorescent pink pants, and white shoes. Once I regained my senses, I looked up to his face. “Yes?”
“Very sorry,” he replied. “I’ll be happy to pay to replace your window.” He handed me his business card, showing he was a local lawyer, and said to send him the bill. He even recommended a good local window repair shop, which should tell you something (and helps to explain how the Golf Pro so quickly figured out who the culprit was).
Since I long ago forgot his name, let’s just call him Jim Lawyer.
I did call the recommended window repair place, and they came out pretty quickly and did a very nice job fixing the window. They left a bill.
Rather than spend the stamp to send the bill to lawyer Lawyer’s office, I stopped there since it was right on my way home from work.
“Is Jim available?” I asked the receptionist.
“Mister Lawyer is in court today,” she said with her well-iced voice.
After years as a first responder, I don’t faze easily. “No problem,” I replied. “Please give him two things.” I handed her the golf ball that had come through my window. Her face immediately showed her confusion as she focused on the ball in her hand. And then, before she could get a word out, I handed her the bill, said good day, and turned and went out the door.
He paid the bill.
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