“Family frightened by golf balls wins nearly $5 million from neighboring country club,” read the headline of a Boston Globe story this week.
“You cannot be serious!” exclaimed John McEnroe to a chair umpire when he received a ruling he didn’t agree with.
“For trespass over the ongoing bombardment,” a family with three girls ages 2 to 5 sued Indian Pond Country Club in Kingston, Massachusetts, and received a permanent injunction banning golf balls on their property.
The Tenczars were awarded $3.5 million in damages for mental and emotional anguish by a jury. According to the Globe story, court records show that the total amount, including interest, is $4.9 million.
It’s golf’s equivalent of the 1994 lawsuit in which a lady sued McDonald’s for a cup of coffee burn and was awarded $3 million in punitive damages. Similarly, if you buy a home near a golf course, you accept some risk.
The Tenczars paid $750,000 in April 2017 for a brand-new four-bedroom, 3,000-square-foot home in Indian Pond Estates on the south shore, according to the Globe story. That’s an essential point: the golf course, which was designed by Damian Pascuzzo and opened in 2001, was built before the house. A errant golf ball from the 15th hole splashed in the water the first time the family filled up the kiddie pool in the backyard. The Tenczars stopped replacing windows with glass after so many were shattered. A photo of the grumpy Tenczars holding a plastic container filled with golf balls that have hit their house over the years is included in the report.
The Tenczars’ house is built on an elevated bank, directly across from the 15th tee.
“Should we have looked into the possibility of our house being hit? Probably. I’m not sure. We were very enamored with the house. In the piece, Erik Tenczar, 43, stated, “It was our first house.”
Attempts to reach the club reportedly had no results. To their credit, the family received a netting appraisal, “only to be advised that a net couldn’t be built high enough to keep out balls.”
The Tenczars’ lawyer, Bob Galvin, stated, “They bought what they thought was their dream house and it turned into a nightmare for them.” “During the golf season, they couldn’t do anything outside.”
The Boston Globe quoted Athina Tenczar as saying, “We never wanted a lawsuit; nobody wants a litigation.” “We tried to approach them in a civil manner and work with them.” We were able to communicate for a while, but suddenly everything stopped.”
“It’s not accurate that the golf course did nothing,” said John Flemming, the club’s lawyer. “I don’t believe it’s truthful to say that we were absolutely unresponsive.”
The country club’s lawyers filed a notice of intent to appeal the case in March.
“I’m really optimistic that the injunction will be overturned,” Flemming remarked. “The verdict of $3.5 million for purported mental anguish is, in my opinion, against the weight of the evidence.”
Meanwhile, the country club has rearranged the tee box for the 15th hole, and the Tenczars claim they haven’t seen a golf ball on their land in months. That should be the end of the story; move on with your life, or sell the house and buy another property where you can grow your family that isn’t next to a golf course and puts your children in danger.
“Would you be willing to buy it?” According to Athina Tenczar, she spoke to a reporter from the Boston Globe. With a shake of her head, she expressed her dissatisfaction with the situation. “This isn’t going to go to another family.”
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