Sunday, February 10, 2013

Ski Resort's Release From Liability Upheld in Monroe County

In his recent December 6, 2012 decision, Judge Jonathan Mark of the Monroe County Court of Common Pleas recently granted summary judgment in favor of a ski resort in the case of Freeman v. Camelback Ski Corp., PICS Case No. 13-0083 (C.P. Monroe Co. Dec. 6, 2012 Mark, J.).  

In this matter, the court ruled that the ski resort’s liability release and agreement not to sue for injuries resulting from the act of skiing or the use of the resort’s equipment or facilities contemplated and included the Plaintiff’s action of walking in ski boots across a pathway from the rental equipment building to the ski slopes.   As such, the court granted the Defendant’s ski resort’s Motion for Summary Judgment.  

Under the liability release form signed by the Plaintiff entitled “Rental Agreement and Agreement Not to Sue-PLEASE READ” was a clause stating that the signor understood and assumed the risk of skiing and agreed not to sue the Camelback Ski Resort for any injuries sustained as a result of skiing or using Camelback’s equipment or facility.  

The Plaintiff was allegedly injured while wearing ski boots and carrying skis when he left the rental office, walked across the courtyard, and slipped and fell on a snow/path depression in the walkway.  

If the parties’ dispute over the scope and extent of the liability release, the Plaintiff asserted that the release should only be deemed to apply to injuries and damages associated with the activities of skiing or snowboarding.   The Plaintiff also alleged that his fall on the walkway was an unexpected risk not specifically covered by the release. 

The court disagreed and found the path upon which the Plaintiff fell to be covered by the liability release.   The court noted that the this party was used for the purpose of getting the Plaintiff to the designated ski area, which was the purpose for which he had rented equipment, paid fees, and signed the release.   The court also found an inherent risk of skiing including the associated act of walking in ski boots to and from the rental equipment office to the slopes while walking over snow packed walkways.  

Based upon the above, the court granted summary judgment in favor of the Defendant.  

Anyone desiring a copy of this decision may contact the Pennsylvania Law Weekly’s Pennsylvania Instant Case Service at 1-800-276-7427 and providing the above-referenced PICS Case Number and paying a small fee.

Source:  “Digest of Recent Opinions,” Pennsylvania Law Weekly (30 PLW 103) (Jan. 29, 2013).  

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