Madison - St. Clair Record

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Alton golf course denies liability in personal injury suit, countersues based on indemnity contract

By Heather Isringhausen Gvillo | Sep 8, 2015


An Alton golf course alleges a woman was thrown from a golf cart as a result of her own negligence for failing to properly sit in the cart and countersues the golf tournament's organizer based on an indemnity clause in the contract.

Laura Parrish filed her lawsuit on June 12 against Nick Espolt, Spencer T. Olin Golf Course (STO LLC) and the City of Alton.

According to the complaint, Parrish and Espolt were both business invitees participating in a golf tournament on June 14, 2014, at the Alton golf course. Parrish alleges Espolt was driver when she was thrown from the golf cart in the parking lot while riding as a passenger.

She accuses Espolt with recklessly operating the golf court and failing to reduce his speed to avoid an accident.

Spencer T. Olin Golf Course is accused of failing to provide adequate instructions and supervision in the operation of these golf carts.

She also alleges the City of Alton and staff and employees of the golf course allowed business invitees to operate the carts in an area that they knew would be too congested to safely operate them and recklessly allowed carts to be operated by individuals that had been drinking alcohol.

Espolt answered the complaint on July 20, arguing that Parrish’s alleged injuries were the result of her own negligence.

He also argues that her claims are barred by the Workers’ Compensation Act. The two were at the golf tournament at the “request and encouragement of their employer in the hope of deriving economic benefit from their participation in a client’s sponsored event,” the answer states.

STO LLC filed a motion to dismiss on Aug. 6, seeking to dismiss Counts II and III, which describe the defendant’s conduct as “reckless” and “willful and wanton.”

“There are no allegations in either count that STO LLC exercised any direction or control over the person who was driving the cart from which the plaintiff fell,” the motion states.

STO LLC argues that Count III contains “bare allegations” that it was “reckless” and guilty of “willful and wanton” misconduct.

“However, it is the factual allegations that determine whether a claim for willful and wanton misconduct has been stated, not the adjectives that the pleader attaches to the defendant’s alleged conduct.

“According to the factual allegations of the complaint, STO, LLC was guilty of nothing more than allowing people to drive golf carts on its parking lot. There are no factual allegations that would lead a trier of fact to conclude that STO, LLC either deliberately intended to harm the plaintiff or displayed an utter indifference to or conscious disregard for the plaintiff’s welfare,” the motion states.

STO LLC also answered the complaint on Aug. 6, arguing that Parrish’s alleged damages were caused by her own negligence and carelessness for failing to properly sit within the golf cart, failing to sit in a balanced position within the golf cart and failing to keep her feet on the floor of the golf cart while it was in motion, the motion states.

STO filed a counterclaim against Espolt and a third-party complaint against Dynegy Midwest Generation LLC.

The defendant claims Espolt was operating the golf cart in a reckless manner, operating the golf cart in too fast a manner for conditions and failing to reduce his speed to avoid an accident.

STO denies liability to the plaintiff and argues that if it is required to pay a sum of money to Parrish, it would be entitled to contribution from Espolt as a result of his alleged negligence.

As for Dynegy, STO argues that Espolt was an employee of Dynegy and his operation of the golf cart was done within the scope of his employment with the third-party defendant.

STO included a copy of an indemnification clause in a contract between the two parties governing the operation of the tournament

STO seeks an order compelling Dynegy to fully indemnify it against any judgment.

The City of Alton first answered the complaint on Aug. 6 through attorney James E. Schrempf of Schrempf Kelly & Napp in Alton represents the City of Alton.

The defendant argues that the plaintiff and Espolt were the sole proximate causes of the incident because the plaintiff failed to stay seated in a moving golf cart.

In its answer, the City of Alton requested to be dismissed from the lawsuit because it is immune from liability as the plaitniff’s alleged injuries occurred on recreational property.

After answering the complaint through Schrempf, the City of Alton filed a motion for an extension of time to answer the complaint on Aug. 19 through attorneys John P. Cunningham and Daniel G. Hasenstab of Brown & James in Belleville.

The plaintiff seeks damages in excess of $50,000, plus other relief the court deems appropriate.

Parrish is represented by Marc W. Parker of Parker Law in Maryville.

Cunningham and Hasenstab also represent STO LLC.

Mark R. Osland and Nicole L. Winters of the Law Office of Stephen H. Larson in St. Louis represent Espolt.

Madison County Circuit Court case number 15-L-754

Want to get notified whenever we write about Brown & James P.C. ?

Sign-up Next time we write about Brown & James P.C., we'll email you a link to the story. You may edit your settings or unsubscribe at any time.

Organizations in this Story

Brown & James P.C.

More News