David D. Wooten, Appellant-Plaintiff,
Caesars Riverboat Casino, LLC and Bernard J. Chamernik, Appellees-Plaintiffs.
from the Harrison Superior Court, The Honorable Larry
Medlock, Special Judge. Cause No. 31D01-1311-CT-39
Attorneys for Appellant Karl N. Truman Marsha A. Dailey
Attorneys for Appellee Rodney L. Scott Eric T. Eberwine
Waters Tyler Hofmann & Scott, LLC New Albany, Indiana
OF THE CASE
Appellant-Plaintiff, David D. Wooten (Wooten), appeals the
trial court's summary judgment in favor of
Appellee-Defendant,  Bernard J.
Chamernik (Chamernik), which concluded, as a matter of law,
that Chamernik's actions fell within the range of
ordinary behavior of participants in the sport of golf.
Wooten raises two issues on appeal, which we consolidate and
restate as: Whether the trial court properly concluded that
Chamernik's conduct of driving the golf cart during a
golf scramble fell within the ordinary range of behavior of
participants in golf, as interpreted by our supreme court in
Pfenning v. Lineman, 947 N.E.2d 392 (Ind. 2011).
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
This case stems from an incident that occurred between two
participants at a VIP golf scramble at Chariot Run Golf
Course, in Harrison County, Indiana. On August 19, 2012,
Wooten and Chamernik were invited to participate in a golf
tournament sponsored by Caesars Riverboat Casino (Caesars) at
its golf course, Chariot Run Golf Course (Chariot Run).
According to the event rules, the golf scramble consisted of
teams of four golfers, with the team playing the best ball
for each shot. Caesars paired Wooten, Chamernik, James Malles
(Malles), and James North (North), none of whom knew each
other, as partners for the scramble. Wooten was the only one
who had previously played at Chariot Run and who was familiar
with its layout. Caesars provided all teams with golf
carts-Wooten and Malles rode in one golf cart and Chamernik
and North rode in a second golf cart behind them. Although
Chariot Run features paved asphalt paths for the golf carts,
participants were allowed to "drive the carts on the
fairway" and to pull the "cart up close to where
[the] ball was and hit it." (Appellant's App. p.
Wooten's team started the scramble at the twelfth hole.
The fourteenth hole was a blind shot from the tee, after
which Malles and Wooten rode ahead in their cart on the cart
path. Chamernik followed behind, while looking for his ball
on the fairway. Malles stopped the golf cart on the path near
the green on the downward slope of a hill. Wooten was
"leaning up to get out of the cart" when it was hit
from behind by Chamernik "at a low rate of speed."
(Appellant's App. pp. 76, 141). The impact of the
collision "threw [Wooten] backwards, " but he did
not leave his seat and was not otherwise thrown out of the
golf cart. (Appellant's App. p. 83). Wooten's neck
"snapped backwards" and started
"bothering" him, and his ears started ringing.
(Appellant's App. p. 84). Wooten "sat in the cart
for several minutes." (Appellant's App. p. 84). He
took some over the counter pain reliever and continued to
play. There was no damage to either golf cart as a result of
After completing the play on the eighteenth hole, Malles
drove Wooten to the clubhouse where Wooten informed course
attendants about the accident. Malles and Wooten did not
enter the clubhouse but instead waited in their golf cart for
the arrival of the EMTs, while parked under a canopy outside.
By this time, Wooten was also experiencing blurred vision.
After examining Wooten, the EMTs diagnosed him with whiplash
and cleared him to play without any further treatment. Wooten
participated in the remainder of the tournament, with his
team winning first place. Because of continuing pain, Wooten
checked himself into the hospital on August 24, 2012, where
he was diagnosed with a neck sprain and strain.
On November 20, 2013, Wooten filed his Complaint sounding in
negligence against Caesars, Chamernik, and Malles. Malles was
subsequently dismissed from the cause on February 24, 2016,
and Wooten settled with Caesars. On February 26, 2016,
Chamernik filed his motion for summary judgment, memorandum
in support thereof, and designation of evidence. Wooten filed
a reply on March 14, 2016. On April 1, 2016, the trial ...