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Massachusetts family awarded $5 million for golf ball damage to home

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The Massachusetts Supreme Court has awarded a jury verdict of nearly $5 million to a South Shore couple who say they suffered psychological harm after being bombarded with hundreds of errant golf balls from a nearby country club. on the golf course located at Indian Pond Country Club since 2017. At trial, they testified that 651 golf balls had hit the property since they moved in, shattering eight windows and damaging the house’s siding and roof railings this spring, a Plymouth High Court judge granted. The family owes $100,000 in property damage and $3.4 million in emotional distress. The fees and interest brought the total amount awarded to nearly $5 million. The court also issued an injunction preventing the course from being operated “in such a manner as to allow golf balls to be present on the property.” However, in its unanimous decision on Tuesday, the Supreme Judicial Court ruled that the trial judge in the case had not properly interpreted the documents creating the covenants and limitations. Judge Scott L. wrote: As the court’s decision mused: “Since the jury did not instruct accordingly, and as failure to instruct was prejudicial, the verdict should be reversed and the matter lifted.” Read as a whole, the documents state that the plaintiffs’ home was subject to an agreement permitting the ‘reasonable and efficient operation’ of a golf course ‘in a traditional and customary manner,’ said the written decision by Kaffker. The jury again determined whether the number of stray golf balls hitting Tenczar’s home run could be considered unconscionable interference.Click here to read the full decision from the decision “We cannot legally decide that the play of the 15th hole and the number of missed shots that hit a home run” said the decision. plaintiffs were reasonable.” “With golf, some foul shots, off the line, are unavoidable, but the expected pattern of foul shots that arise from the operation of an unreasonable golf course is not,” the written decision read. “Currently, a properly oriented jury is needed to resolve whether the 15th hole operation, including the number of missed shots that hit the plaintiffs’ home, is reasonable,” Tenckzar family attorney Robert Galvin told The Boston Globe on Tuesday. – that the decision was “disappointing”, but the couple will take the opportunity to present their concerns to a new jury. According to the Supreme Court of Justice, the jury’s verdict of $3.4 million for emotional distress came from the plaintiffs’ testimony. In its ruling, the court said that Eric Tenczar testified “to mental exhaustion arising from concern about golf ball strokes and the safety of his children, and his observations of the fear, stress, and nervousness of his wife and children.” She testified that golf ball strikes interrupted her work calls and woke her children while they were napping, and called golf balls “scary” and “messy”, the ruling said. are not met. The subdivision in Kingston where the plaintiffs live consists of homes on either side of Country Club Way, which connects a golf course. The developer of the subdivision, Indian Pond, built the golf course in 1999 and 2000.

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The Massachusetts Supreme Court has awarded a jury verdict of nearly $5 million to a South Shore couple who say they suffered emotional harm from being bombarded with hundreds of errant golf balls from a nearby country club.

The Tenczar family has lived near the 15th hole fairway of the golf course located at Indian Pond Country Club since 2017.

During the trial, they testified that 651 golf balls had hit the property since they moved in, breaking eight windows and damaging the house’s siding and roof railings.

This spring, a Plymouth Superior Court judge awarded the family $100,000 in property damage and $3.4 million in emotional distress. Fees and interest brought the total amounts awarded to nearly $5 million.

The court also issued an injunction preventing the course from being operated “in such a manner as to allow golf balls to be present on the property.”

However, in its unanimous decision on Tuesday, the Supreme Court of Justice ruled that the trial judge in the case had not properly interpreted the documents creating the covenants and restrictions.

Judge Scott L. wrote: As the court’s decision mused: “Since the jury did not instruct accordingly, and as failure to instruct was prejudicial, the verdict should be reversed and the matter lifted.”

“Read as a whole, the documents state that the plaintiffs’ home was subject to an agreement permitting the ‘reasonable and efficient operation’ of a golf course ‘in a traditional and customary manner,'” said the written decision by Kaffker.

The Supreme Judicial Court returned the case to Plymouth High Court, where the jury would again be asked to determine whether the number of errant golf balls hitting Tenczar’s home could be considered unreasonable interference.

Click here to read the full Supreme Court decision

“We cannot legally determine that the paring of the 15th hole and the number of missed shots hitting the plaintiffs’ home were reasonable,” the decision read.

The written decision stated that “With golf, some foul shots, off the line, are unavoidable, but the expected pattern of foul shots that arise from the operation of an unreasonable golf course is not.” “In this case, a properly directed jury is needed to decide whether the 15th hole run, including the number of miss shots that hit the plaintiffs’ home, is reasonable.”

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Robert Galvin, an attorney for the Tenzar family, told The Boston Globe on Tuesday that the decision was “disappointing” but that the couple would use the opportunity to present their concerns to a new jury.

According to the Supreme Court of Justice, the jury’s verdict of $3.4 million for emotional distress came from the plaintiffs’ testimony.

In its ruling, the court said Eric Tenczar testified “to his mental exhaustion arising from concern about golf ball strokes and the safety of his children, and his remarks to his ‘desperate’ wife.”[ness]”And his children’s fear, tension and nervousness.”

Athena Tenkzar testified that golf ball strikes interrupted her work calls and woke her children during naps, and described golf balls as “scary” and “messy”. Her house was unfilled.”

The Kingston subdivision where the plaintiffs live consists of homes on either side of Country Club Way, which surrounds a golf course. The subdivision developer, Indian Pond, built the golf course in 1999 and 2000.

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