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Sall v. T’s, Inc.

Kansas Supreme Court
136 P.3d 471 (2006)


Facts

After lightning struck him playing golf, Matthew Patrick Sall and his parents (plaintiffs) sued T’s Inc., d/b/a Smiley’s Golf Course (SGC) (defendant). SGC’s policy required its manager to monitor local thunderstorms and sound an airhorn to warn golfers and close the course if lightning struck nearby. As thunderstorms left the area, Patrick called ahead to confirm the course had reopened, telling his mother, “Mom, don’t worry, they wouldn’t be open if it wasn’t safe.” Patrick’s companion Chris knew about the airhorn policy and the two had discussed it when lightning flashed on the second hole, too far away to cause concern. Chris said both were relying on SGC to blow the air horn if lightning returned nearby. Meanwhile, the news reported returning thunderstorms. The manager blew the air horn a few minutes later, after checking the internet radar and seeing lightning outside. Lightning struck two minutes after the boys heard the air horn, after Patrick finished his putt, Chris replaced the flag, and both started walking back to the clubhouse. The trial court granted summary judgment for SGC, reasoning a business has no duty to warn or protect customers from lightning as unforeseeable. The Salls appealed, arguing SGC voluntarily undertook or assumed that duty. The appellate court affirmed on the ground that the exception did not apply because SGC was not negligent. The Salls appealed again.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Davis, J.)

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