And Justice for Some
For those of you who have followed me for a while, you already know that while my husband and I were enjoying ourselves at his niece’s wedding in August, we decided to take a romantic, moonlit walk together… where my husband fell into a 10′ bunker while we were in sight of a well-lit party tent and snapped his radius. Not only did he break off the head of the bone, the bone was in multiple pieces, and had to be realigned and held in place with the help of surgery and three 3″ pins. I was very lucky he didn’t break his neck, and still count my blessings about that.
Since he is a Doctor of Oriental medicine, he has managed to shock the orthopedic surgeon who put his wrist back together with his accelerated healing–his cast came off a full 4-6 weeks ahead of the date the surgeon originally outlined for us. And we were lucky enough that insurance from my job had finally kicked in 8/1, so the accident was covered (albeit with a massive deductible to meet, first). We thought that since we were guests to a place regularly rented for these types of events (where they add to their risk by serving alcohol), that maybe their owner or liability insurance would help cover some of the ridiculous medical bills that have started rolling in.
Silly, naive people we are, we approached Whistling Straits directly, since it seemed a straightforward proposition: We were your guests, you didn’t post signs or otherwise indicate the imminent danger lurking 30 feet from the venue, and one of us was injured because of that negligence. We were duly deposed. And waited. Two months later, their investigator sent us a letter denying any responsibility… because that area wasn’t lit.
In talking about this with a colleague, who turns out to have parents who volunteer for the PGA, he said they had received notification advising them to arrive in cleats because of the rugged terrain. Even the surgeon said my husband was not the first to have seriously injured himself at that venue. However, neither of us golfs–or is even remotely interested in golf… so how were we to have known of this man-trap reputation. If you look at the picture, you’ll even see they build their grandstands OVER the bunker into which my husband tumbled, to keep PGA visitors out of harm’s way–and that those bunkers are immediately adjacent to the buildings they rent out for things like… oh… say… A Wedding!
Having been backed into a legalistic corner we hadn’t anticipated by the investigator’s letter, we decided to talk to a lawyer highly recommended by one of my husband’s patients (who is, herself an assistant DA, so should know what she’s talking about…). He did some legwork for us, and this week came back with more disheartening news: The case is prima facie great. BUT… It would be against the Kohler Corporation, which has an entire legal division at its disposal, so could squash our single lawyer with paperwork and motions and whatever other legal mumbo-jumbo they decided to throw at us. So he couldn’t take on a case that was likely to end up with a much higher time investment than his small business could afford.
Which leaves me… pissed. If we were a corporation with nearly unlimited resources, this would have been resolved with a small chat between colleagues. Since we’re nobodies with mortgages, student loans, and all the other things the 99% are burdened with, we have to be OK with the fact that a corporation can decide at its whim that it wouldn’t want to set a precedent about covering an injury incurred on their property through their decision not to warn first-time visitors of the hazards close by. I have no idea what to do about this other than share a rant with the general Internet population… with the hashtag my brother-in-law suggested: #justiceforjingo.
What do you think? Is this unreasonable?