By: Rob Harris
PGA tournaments, on Thursdays and Fridays, typically utilize both the 1st and 10th tees, in order to accommodate the numbers of pre-cut players that need to complete their rounds. Suppose a hypothetical tour player with a 9:50 tee time arrives at the 1st tee on time, only to realize that he was earmarked to begin on no. 10. Would he be deemed to have arrived on time, even though he was on the incorrect tee?
In the world of golf litigation, however, the rule may not be so strict.
A group of Vail homeowners challenged the Vail Golf Course’s plans to expand its facilities. Having lost at the local level, the homeowners filed a lawsuit. The complaint was filed electronically, four days before the requisite deadline. The complaint, however, was filed with the incorrect court. Specifically, “the administrative assistant who filed it…selected the wrong district court (the Denver District Court) from the …. drop-down menu, rather than the Eagle County District Court that was noted on the caption.”
By the time the defect was noted, the filing deadline had passed.
The lower court dismissed the complaint, “rejecting the Homeowners’ ‘technical difficulties’ argument,” even going so far as to require the homeowners to pay the attorneys’ fees incurred by the prevailing party.
The Colorado Court of Appeals viewed the matter differently. On appeal, the court held that “the Homeowners E-Filed their … complaint with the Denver District Court on June 28, 2013, which was four days before Rule 106(b)’s jurisdictional deadline. The Rule 106(a)(4) complaint was thus ‘filed in the district court’ on June 28, 2013, and the Homeowners invoked district court jurisdiction — including that of the Eagle County District Court — on that date… The fact that the Homeowners E-Filed their Rule 106(a)(4) complaint with the Denver District Court, rather than with the Eagle County District Court, did not deprive the Eagle County District Court of its subject matter jurisdiction over the action.”
“Rule 106 does not state that district court jurisdiction over a Rule 106(a)(4) action is limited to the district court where a Rule
106(a)(4) complaint is originally filed.”
At least in Colorado courts, if not on the golf course, showing up at the 1st tee instead of the 10th, is sufficient.