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Interesting Opinion On Liability Of Skiers/Boarders and Resorts

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
Interesting opinion here: http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/opinions...ts/C047061.PDF

Everyone gets off but the snowboarder.

There is justice in the world
post #2 of 12
I think it should be fairly pointed out that the only thing the court ruled on was the previous summary judgment motion. It didn't say the snowboarder was liable ... just that there are sufficient facts distinguishable from those involving the mountain that the two motions should have been made seperately ... so they denied the previous summary judgment motion on behalf of the snowboarder ...

If it had been Colorado ... there's a cap on damages anyway ...

The lesson to be learned ...

If you have too much ski and aren't interested in stopping without the assistance of impacting another person ... do it in a state that limits your liability ... i'm sure there are plenty of people that will help you find one.
post #3 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by imataxman
I think it should be fairly pointed out that the only thing the court ruled on was the previous summary judgment motion. It didn't say the snowboarder was liable ... just that there are sufficient facts distinguishable from those involving the mountain that the two motions should have been made seperately ... so they denied the previous summary judgment motion on behalf of the snowboarder ...
That's what I got from it, too. Saw the same link posted on TGR and read it through. I had to think pretty hard, though, to make sure that's what I got from it. I'm no lawyer, but my some of my friends are. :

EDIT: And I seem to have just outed myself as a TGR lurker. Whoopsie.

Mollmeister
post #4 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mollmeister
That's what I got from it, too. Saw the same link posted on TGR and read it through. I had to think pretty hard, though, to make sure that's what I got from it. I'm no lawyer, but my some of my friends are. :

EDIT: And I seem to have just outed myself as a TGR lurker. Whoopsie.

Mollmeister
JONG!!!!!!

And you're right; the ruling in favor of the plaintiff is only that the summary judgment on the part of the boarder was denied, because there was a "question of fact", as opposed to law, which a jury must decide. That being whether the boarder's conduct was so out of the norm of that typically encountered by another participant that the assumption of the risk doctrine did not apply.

The other defendants, including Mammoth, are out.
post #5 of 12
The opinion seemed pretty "right," so far as I could tell.

Perhaps the most interesting thing was that the court had to over-rule the trial court. The trial court apparently ruled, as a matter of law, that when you step on the ski slope you assume the risk of being run into by someone moving fast enough to break your leg in 16 places ... just as when you play touch football you assume the risk that someone might accidentally step on your hand.

The outcome isn't quite as non-dispositive as it might appear. The court ruled that if what happened is what the plaintiff (the woman who got hit) said happened, then the snowboarder is liable. The factual issue that remains is whether that is what happened. Given the fact (apparently) of the injuries she suffered, I suspect there's not really much in the way of any disputed factual issues.

I'd guess (just a guess) that the case never goes before another court, but gets resolved with a fairly good-sized settlement.
post #6 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by sjjohnston
I'd guess (just a guess) that the case never goes before another court, but gets resolved with a fairly good-sized settlement.
I agree that the opinion is correct ... i don't know that it couldn't have been granted summary judgment, but not as a mandatory or compulsive joinder (or even impleading) with the other defendants ... (go legalese!)

Although, do you really think it would be a good sized settlement? I mean chances are unless the snowboarder happened to be jake burton, or bill gates or (insert a corporate CEO/President of your choice); I doubt that this guy had "substantial personal wealth" and in that case he's just gonna stiff him on the judgment anyway ... the only thing people could get from me is my debt ...

It seems that as a strategy they were trying to somehow achieve joint and several liability, including the part of Mammoth, from which they could pretty much get as much as the jury awarded (if they won). As unfortunate as it is that some guy can do this, i doubt that the woman will wind up with a windfall ...

Why don't we just force the guy to stand at the bottom of the hill, and let her run into him, then they can hug it out, and we'll call it even?
post #7 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by imataxman
Although, do you really think it would be a good sized settlement? I mean chances are unless the snowboarder happened to be jake burton, or bill gates or (insert a corporate CEO/President of your choice); I doubt that this guy had "substantial personal wealth" and in that case he's just gonna stiff him on the judgment anyway ... the only thing people could get from me is my debt ...
18 year old kid? Unless he's got a trust fund, I'm going to go out on a limb and guess he's judgement-proof at this point.
post #8 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by iskitoofast4u
18 year old kid? Unless he's got a trust fund, I'm going to go out on a limb and guess he's judgement-proof at this point.
"judgement-proof" ... i see we speak the same language ...
post #9 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by sjjohnston
The opinion seemed pretty "right," so far as I could tell.

Perhaps the most interesting thing was that the court had to over-rule the trial court. The trial court apparently ruled, as a matter of law, that when you step on the ski slope you assume the risk of being run into by someone moving fast enough to break your leg in 16 places ... just as when you play touch football you assume the risk that someone might accidentally step on your hand.
On the other hand if you are playing touch football and someone blind side blitzes you and tackles you into the ground breaking stuff, you can sue for damages. You don't have to assume that risk. You can never absolve your self from neglegance. It would have been one thing if the guy had barely hit her and bruised her hip or tailbone, but smashing the crap out of her while racing down a hill is another thing.

Also to the O.P. the law doesn't care that it was a boarder, only that the guy creamed the lady in a tragically horrible way. It's just like a car accident.
post #10 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by imataxman
Although, do you really think it would be a good sized settlement?
Good point. Somebody thought the trial court judgment was worth appealing, though I suppose that might have been in the hope of getting at Mammoth or the coach. Though those claims seem like (and proved to be) real losers. Maybe the kid's parents had an umbrella liability policy that covered his acts? I don't know.

Quote:
Why don't we just force the guy to stand at the bottom of the hill, and let her run into him
Or send in her husband, who'd probably do a better job of it.
post #11 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by imataxman
"judgement-proof" ... i see we speak the same language ...

Why do you see that...because neither of you can spell judgment?

As for settlement, even though the kid was 18, since he was still a high school student, and if his parents have home owners insurance, that would likely kick in. The deep pockets, Mammoth and the puublic entities, are gone, however.
post #12 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by KennyG
On the other hand if you are playing touch football and someone blind side blitzes you and tackles you into the ground breaking stuff, you can sue for damages. You don't have to assume that risk. You can never absolve your self from neglegance. It would have been one thing if the guy had barely hit her and bruised her hip or tailbone, but smashing the crap out of her while racing down a hill is another thing.

Also to the O.P. the law doesn't care that it was a boarder, only that the guy creamed the lady in a tragically horrible way. It's just like a car accident.
I think you are probably wrong about that, at least in California. In fact, the case which reveived the notion of primary assumption of the risk in California as it relates to recreational activities, was one where during a flag or touch football game, one of the participants began thinking he was Mike Singletary. If the act is one which can be characterized as the actor just getting out of hand, or too enthusiastic, revved up etc., whether the act is one a reasonable person would know is likely to result in potential harm to another, it is not negilgent act, because under the theory of primary assumption of the risk, no duty to refrain from such acts is owed to the third person. On the other hand, if the harmful act is either intentional or wanton/reckless (the later typically described as an act which the reasonable person would know carries with it a substantial certainty of significant harm to third parties), then primary assumption of the risk doen not apply, and the is a duty owed to refrain from such acts.
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