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Golf Cart Co. Sued by Man Injured in Fall

The wife of a man that suffers with short-term memory loss after a fall from a golf cart, has filed a lawsuit against the golf cart manufacturer for failing to issue warnings about not riding in the section normally reserved for golf bags, as reported by the Associated Press for The Republic.

Daniel Mawhinney, the attorney for the victim, R.J., told jurors that his client sustained a brain injury after being thrown from a swerving golf cart, that was manufactured by Textron, while participating in an event at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway. No instructions were on the golf cart, according to Mawhinney, warning his client of where her should not to stand.

David Osterman, the attorney for Textron, told jurors, "There is going to be no evidence that a warning on this car would have told Mr. (R.J.) anything he didn't already know and appreciate."

R.J., 53, worked as a school bus driver prior to the 2006 accident. It is Osterman's contention that he should have known not to stand in a moving vehicle.

Mawhinney also told jurors that R.J. has little to no short-term memory and isn't allowed to leave his home as he may get lost.

On July 16, 2006, R.J. worked alongside 1,500 volunteers for a charity event at the speedway. While standing in a golf cart, the vehicle suddenly swerved and he fell and landed onto the pavement.

M.J., R.J.'s wife and legal guardian, settled a previous lawsuit against the speedway. The settlement amount and details are undisclosed.

During R.J.'s deposition he admitted that he would "stop his school bus on a dime" if he saw a student standing, and that it would be his fault if someone got hurt.

Osterman argued that R.J. weighed approximately 310 pounds, was 6 feet tall and his size 11 shoes would not have completely fit within the space between the front and rear of the golf cart's bag platform.

M.J. said that her husband "wasn't a golfer…never been on a golf cart" and only "did what he saw others doing."

While Mawhinney sited that after a similar accident occurred in Tennessee, Textron failed to issued warnings about riding in the back of their golf carts, Osterman countered that the National Consumer Products Safety Commission investigated the accident and concluded that warning labels were not necessary.

Osterman further argued that R.J.'s accident was due to the "horseplay" and speeding by the 20-year-old driver. Osterman added, "You'll hear…of a Wild West attitude" that occurred on the day of the incident.

According to Mawhinney, R.J. is expected to testify to show the jurors his limited abilities.

Damages are sought for loss of consortium, wages, past medical bills and future care. Mawhinney told jurors that he estimates the sum to be approximately $3 million.

Textron is one of the three largest manufacturers of golf carts in the U.S. They are headquartered in Providence, R.I.

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