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Wayment v. Schneider Automotive Group LLC

Court of Appeals of Utah

January 31, 2019

Brett Wayment, Appellee,
v.
Schneider Automotive Group LLC and Nate Wade Subaru, Appellants.

          Third District Court, Salt Lake Department The Honorable Paige Petersen No. 150905943

          Mark O. Morris, Attorney for Appellants

          David M. Wahlquist, Adam D. Wahlquist, and Justin W. Starr, Attorneys for Appellee

          Judges Gregory K. Orme and David N. Mortensen concurred.

          OPINION

          POHLMAN, Judge:

         ¶1 Schneider Automotive Group LLC and Nate Wade Subaru (collectively, Nate Wade) helped sponsor a charity golf tournament. When Brett Wayment made a hole in one at the eighth hole in that tournament, he believed he had won the new car that Nate Wade parked near the hole's tee box. Nate Wade, however, refused to deliver the car, claiming Wayment was ineligible because he was a professional golfer. Wayment sued for breach of contract. After the parties conducted discovery, Wayment moved for summary judgment on his contract claim, which the district court granted. Nate Wade now appeals that decision, contending that there are material questions of fact that precluded summary judgment. We agree and reverse.

         BACKGROUND[1]

         The Tournament

         ¶2 In June 2015, Wayment, a professional golfer, played in a charity golf tournament sponsored, in part, by Nate Wade. Rule sheets, which described the tournament format and identified a hole-in-one contest at the eighth hole, were placed on the participants' golf carts. See infra Appendix. When golfers arrived at the eighth hole, they saw a new 2015 Subaru XV Crosstrek parked next to the tee box along with a sponsorship sign with Nate Wade's name and logo. See id. Neither the rule sheet nor the sign stated that the Subaru, or any other prize, would be awarded. See id.

         ¶3 As luck, or Wayment's skill, would have it, Wayment made a hole in one at the eighth hole. After holing the shot, Wayment believed he won the Subaru based on the tournament rule sheet indicating the contest on the eighth hole, Nate Wade's sponsorship of the hole, and the parked car. At the clubhouse, however, the club pro told Wayment, "Good luck getting that car, Brett," because he knew Wayment was a professional golfer. Several days after the tournament, when Nate Wade discovered that Wayment was a professional golfer, it refused to deliver the car. The tournament organizer did not expect professional golfers to compete for tournament prizes without disclosing their professional status, which Wayment never did. And although that condition was never communicated to the tournament participants, the insurance policy that Nate Wade procured for the tournament required that the hole in one be made by an amateur.[2]

         The Litigation

         ¶4 Wayment sued Nate Wade for breach of contract. He claimed that he had accepted Nate Wade's unilateral offer to give him the car when he made the hole in one, while Nate Wade maintained that professional golfers were excluded from the contest.

         ¶5 Because there was no written agreement detailing what was promised, each side obtained opinions from professional golfers about whether it was reasonable for Wayment to believe he was eligible to win the Subaru under the circumstances. Wayment and another professional golfer (Wayment's Expert) both opined that nothing in the custom or rules of the golf community bars professionals from winning prizes in charity golf events. However, the club pro from the tournament (Nate Wade's Expert) disagreed. He expressed his opinion that, as a matter of custom, professional golfers should disclose their professional status before playing in golf events with amateurs. He also opined that it is generally understood in the golf community that professional golfers are not eligible for competition prizes unless the competition rules explicitly say otherwise.

         ¶6 At his deposition, Nate Wade's Expert agreed there was no "uniformity amongst all pros in the golf community" regarding a professional's eligibility for competition prizes in charity golf tournaments. He explained that his opinion on the ineligibility of professional golfers in prize contests was a "personal feeling" and asserted that other professionals might reasonably think differently. And when asked specifically whether it was reasonable for Wayment to believe he was eligible to participate in the prize ...


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