Gilbert man

Roy Grinnell says his Gilbert home’s wrought iron fence has been destroyed by the sprinklers from adjacent Superstition Springs Golf Club (David Minton/GSN Staff Photographer)

Superstition Springs resident Roy Grinnell, who lives on a golf course property, has a David-and-Goliath fight on his hands over his backyard fence.

The four-year resident and Arcis Golf, which manages Superstition Springs Golf Club, are scheduled to appear in court Oct. 5 over the damage he said the course’s sprinklers have caused his wrought iron fence.

“This summer is when it started coming directly in,” Grinnell said of the water shot out of the golf course’s sprinklers. “There were times with over-spray with the wind. I understand that’s a normal-type circumstance but to have it aimed directly at a house like that is just kind of a new one for me.”

Damieamn Zimmer, the lawyer representing Arcis, declined to comment for this report.

Grinnell said he returned home from vacation in July and found his backyard wrought iron fence rusted.

“It’s not normally customary to aim sprinklers over 100 feet or 80 feet over to someone’s yard and hit the fence directly,” he said, adding he got a bid of $3,300 to repair the fence and that he “talked to someone at the golf course and they shrugged.”

Grinnell eventually forked over $50 and filed a small-claims lawsuit Aug. 2 in justice court, hoping to “get somebody off their hump to do something about it.”

Small claim damages are capped at $3,500 and are heard by a justice of the peace. No appeals or attorneys are allowed in these cases.

Grinnell instead got a rude awakening: Arcis Golf hired Phoenix-based Jones, Skelton & Hochuli, which boasts having over 80 lawyers and is one of the largest law firms in Arizona.

The firm denied that Arcis was negligent in any manner for the watering and maintenance of the golf course.

And, in its correspondence pointed out to Grinnell that when he purchased his home, he agreed to the CC&Rs, which releases the club owner from “all claims and causes of action” stemming from the operations and maintenance of the course.

The firm also was allowed to move the case to Municipal Court, which handles damage claims over $10,000 and allows for attorneys and appeals.

Grinnell balked at the transfer, but Zimmer told him: “My clients have a right to representation, and are exercising the right. “If you do not want this case to be handled in the civil division I request that you dismiss your suit.

“If I do not hear from you that you will be dismissing your complaint, I will answer your complaint and will be seeking an award of attorney’s fees.”

Grinnell was stunned.

“I didn’t expect them to go to the 11th degree with me,” the commercial broker said. “I thought they would be reasonable and meet with me.”

Grinnell said the attorney on Sept. 7 proposed a settlement offer – Arcis would pay Grinnell $1,500 to settle the matter in its entirety in exchange that he sign a “release, confidentiality and non-disclosure of settlement” and forever drop his case.

Under the proposed agreement, Grinnell would have to give up “any and all past, present and future claims, demands, obligations, actions, cause of action, wrongful death claims, survival claims, rights, damages, costs, losses of services, expenses and compensation of any nature” – basically all his legal rights when it comes to Arcis.

He was given one day to accept the offer.

“I rejected the settlement,” Grinnell said. “The document they provided me was absurd. I can’t sign off on all these different things like wrongful death and all future damages.

“What happens if they ruin another fence and I have no right to go after them?”

He said the offer essentially gave Arcis free rein “to do whatever they want to do with my property.”

Since his claim, Grinnell said the sprinklers have been adjusted to where they are no longer pointed at his fence.

“There’s no reasoning with these guys,” Grinnell said. They said, ‘Go hire an attorney.’”

Grinnell said he can hire an attorney and expert witnesses but that would end up costing him more than the initial $3,300 claim.

“Not once did they say, ‘let’s meet you out there and look at the property,’” he said. “They just decided to throw everything they can. It’s ludicrous.”

Grinnell isn’t the only homeowner on the course with the same issue.

“I believe many of the residents in our position that live directly on the golf course have had water directly on their fence, which rusted away and corroded it and destroyed the fence,” said Fred Deacy, who’s lived in his home since 2015.

Deacy said he’s sent letters to the HOA to have the problem addressed because homeowners are fined for not doing upkeep on their fences.

“The HOA doesn’t care that it’s a golf course that is doing the damage,” he said. “Last year I had to cut out sections of the fence and weld in new sections.”

He said because he is in the trade, it didn’t cost him as much to do but if it were anyone else, it would “cost thousands of dollars.”

Gerry McPeek said he’s repaired his damaged fence several times.

“The first time was 10 years ago,” McPeek said. “I replaced the whole fence, probably (cost) $3,000.”

He said he’s never bothered trying to recover his damages because “they won’t do it.”

Inge McKeever said she’s spent money over the years fixing her fence from the course’s sprinklers.

“My rail is old and rusted because of the water,” she said. “It’s been happening here through the years and I’ve been here for 15, 16 years.”

She said damaged fences aren’t the only things that come from living on a primo piece of real estate with a view of the golf course.

“I’ve had my big window broken with a ball and another one (hit) the side of the house,” she said. “It cost me a lot of money but you learn to live with it. There’s nothing you can do.

“Some of the houses when you drive by you can see holes in the walls. I have in my house three or four holes in the walls and one time while in the pool I’ve had one ball pass by me. It did nothing to me but it can kill you. There’s no consideration.”

McKeever, who admitted she did not read the CC&Rs when she bought her house, said she now has to deal with water damage to her concrete patio and said it will be expensive to repair.

For now, Grinnell is trying to learn all he can about the legal system so he can fight his case in court.

“My thing is, hey, everybody messes up but the right thing to do is own up to it,” he said. “I was willing to do half the cost with them and move on but they were being ultra-aggressive. It’s a waste of the court’s time.”

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