Golf Course May Have Duty to Get Rid of Wasps


The next time a person steps on a golf course, he or she may worry a little less about bees or other insect attacks. This is because a California court has ruled that a golf course has a duty to protect patrons against dangerous insects. While this happened in a different state, it is not inconceivable that courts in New York will come to the same conclusion.

A woman had filed a lawsuit after being stung more than 50 times by yellow jackets while at Vintner's Golf Club in Napa Valley. She was at the fifth tee about to shoot when the wasps swarmed and started stinging her. The woman claims that the resulting injuries caused her to miss work for a month. Furthermore, she now needs to carry an EpiPen with her because of an allergy to the wasp. While the case was originally dismissed, an appeals court agreed with the plaintiff that negligence could have taken place.

It now needs to be determined if the course breached its duty of care toward the woman. According to the court that originally heard the case, the golf course was not liable for damage caused by insects it didn't know about it. It is worth noting that it took an exterminator 15 minutes to find the hidden nest. The appeals court found that the course was not necessarily absolved of a duty to protect against wasps or other stinging insects.

If injuries occur on a property that the victim has the right to be on, the property owner could be liable for damages incurred. These damages may include medical bills, lost wages or lost future earnings. This may be true if the owner didn't take reasonable steps to eradicate or minimize dangerous conditions on the premises.