The Errant Golf Ball Disclosure


by Roberta Murphy

errant golf ball

This morning I sat in our La Costa home and listened in on a blogging webinar hosted by Kevin Boer and Pat Kitano and had to chuckle when they asked students to write about how California’s errant golf ball disclosure came into being.

An errant golf ball disclosure may seem like an incredible waste of paper and resources, but that’s what happens when we live in such a litigious society. There are 50 to 150 pages of disclosures that are an integral part of each California real estate transaction and the one I always have fun pointing out to clients is the seemingly absurd disclosure that targets wayward golf balls.

I am then forced to explain that each of these disclosures is surely the result of some lawsuit–and that one can probably glean a history of California real estate litigation by going through each disclosure item.

I don’t know how the errant golf ball disclosure came into being, but would imagine it resulted from someone like fictional Jake, who moved into a quiet La Costa golf course community and expected peaceful and quiet enjoyment while watching the bunnies and coots on the greens and fairways.

One morning while enjoying an early cup of coffee on his patio, Jake was bopped in the head by an errant golf ball, the result of some hackers stupid slice. The knot on his head throbbed, turned purple and he laughed while telling the story to a group of people at a cocktail gathering a week later.

In the audience was a personal injury attorney, who suggested Jake sue the folks who had sold him the home  last year, along with all the real estate agencies involved. These conniving home sellers and Realtors should have disclosed that bad golf shots could break windows, knock noggins and result in a collection of golf balls in the shrubbery.

Fictional Jake and his attorney sued the home sellers and their agent along with his own Realtor for failing to disclose that one of the hazards of living on a golf course is the possibility (or certainty) of errant golf balls.

Whether the case was won or lost is purely irrelevant.

Real estate agents and home sellers in the State of California must now disclose the hazard of errant golf balls that could be flying anywhere in the Golden State.

I also heard this morning about a required local hazard disclosure in Palos Verdes, California about Errant Peacock Poop.

That’s worth more than a grin!

4 responses to “The Errant Golf Ball Disclosure

  1. There is nothing wrong with disclosures and I can't say I have ever seen such a disclosure. There is a standard disclosure form commonly used by real estate agents that is about four pages long. There is a lot of paperwork coming from lenders, but if the transaction is all cash, I don't think the total package including everything would come to 150 pages. More disclosure I think is good for consumers. I think your hypothetical is really off, most lawsuits are brought without attorney encouragement. Personal injury attorneys seek real seriously injured clients a bump to the head is not going to do it. A brain injury would get any personal injury attorney interested.

  2. In our San Diego real estate practice, we insist on full property disclosures regardless of financing terms. Cash buyers deserve no less than one obtaining a mortgage loan.Buyers have a right to know what they are buying and its history–including any insurance claims made against the property. We also adhere to this philosophy of disclosure with our sellers. That helps protect them against future litigation.

    Our goal is to keep real estate transactions out of the courts. That is something we avoid and our clients appreciate.

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