Instructor let 14-year-old drive, despite club policy

An accident in a golf cart led a young teenager to spend her summer in surgery, but it also led to a $165,000 personal injury settlement.

Emily K. Davis, then 14, was participating in the Junior Golf 2009 event at the Lakewood Oaks Golf Club in Lee’s Summit. An instructor allowed davis to drive a golf cart, even though club policy prohibits anyone without a license from driving a cart. The instructor also failed to tell her how to operate it.

Davis rolled the cart down a hill, injuring her leg severely enough that the bone and tendons were visible in the wound. She suffered a comminuted but nondisplaced fracture of her right foot. She also suffered a 10-by-15 centimeter soft tissue defect on the anterolateral aspect of her right ankle. The wound was over the right malleolus and went down to the level of cuboid bone.

The plaintiff underwent four surgical debridements and wounds irrigations and received a skin graft. Her injuries resulted in a permeant scar on her ankle.

Attorney Nick Cutrera said that accident forced his client, a varsity softball player, to miss her freshman season. “She really lost her whole summer,” he said. The case went to mediation before attorney William H. Sanders Jr. The golf course’s attorney, Ben Fadler, said a settlement made sense under the circumstances.

“It was clear that liability was just not going to be an issues,” he said. Cutrera said the case originally involved a $46,401 lien by which Davis’ health insurer sought to recoup some of the cost of treating her.

Cutrera said that insurer agreed to reduce the amount to $37,000 as long as the amount was paid by the end of November 2010.

$165,000 Personal Injury Settlement

  • Court: Jackson County Circuit Court
  • Case number/Date: 1016-CV00533/Nov. 19, 2010
  • Judge: John Torrence
  • Special damages: $70,542 in billed charges; $46,401 ESISA lien
  • Caption: Emily K. Davis v. Lakewood Holding Company Inc., Evergreen Alliance Golf Limited LP, Bill Godfrey
  • Plaintiff’s attorneys: Nick A. Cutrera, Cutrera Law Firm, Lee’s Summit
  • Defendants’ attorney: Ben Fadler, Manz Swanson & Mulhern, Kansas City