When operating a golf cart while playing recreational golf, what standard of care is applied? Specifically, does the ordinary standard of care in simple negligence claims apply, or does the “reckless misconduct” standard in recreational activities apply? The Michigan Supreme Court has granted mini-oral argument to answer this question in Bertin v. Mann, No. 155266.
While playing a recreational game of golf, Kenneth Bertin walked around the 17th green to where his ball was lying and was struck by a golf cart driven by Douglas Mann. The hit knocked Mr. Bertin over, and the golf cart ran over his leg. After the trial court concluded that the applicable standard of care was “reckless misconduct” because the parties were co-participants in a recreational activity when the incident occurred, the jury entered a verdict in Mr. Mann's favor. The Court of Appeals reversed, holding that the ordinary negligence standard of care should have been applied instead.
The Michigan Supreme Court has granted mini-oral argument to consider whether the Court of Appeals applied the correct standard of care, and has invited the Golf Association of Michigan and Negligence Law Section of the State Bar of Michigan to file briefs amicus curiae.