Friday, January 24, 2020

Eastern Federal District Court of PA Rules That Snowtubing Activities Do Not Fall Under Skier's Responsibility Act


Does Pennsylvania's Skier's Responsibility Act apply to snowtubing?

In what appears to be a case of first impression, the court in the case of Amadeo v. Spring Mountain Adventures, Inc., No. 18-2472 (E.D. Pa. Nov. 1, 2019 Kenney, J.), denied a Defendant's motion for summary judgment and ruled that protections afforded to defendant ski resorts under Pennsylvania Skier’s Responsibility Act do not apply to snowtubing activities.

According to the short matter-of-fact Opinion of the court, the Plaintiff injured her ankle when her snow tube hit a barrier at the end of a run.

The defense filed a motion for summary judgment under Pennsylvania's Skier's Responsibility Act and argued that, under that Act, snowtubing activities carry inherent risks that a participant assumes when engaging in such activities.

The court here noted that no prior decisions had ruled that snowtubing activities fell under the ambit of the Act which is focused on downhill skiing activities.  The court in this Amadeo case predicted that, if faced with the issue, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court would fall on the side that favors plaintiffs and would rule that snowtubing should be viewed as an "inherently benign" activity under Pennsylvania law.

As such, since the court found that the Skier's Responsibility Act did not support the granting of the Defendant's motion for summary judgment, the motion was denied.

Anyone wishing to review a copy of this decision may click this LINK.  The companion Order can be viewed HERE.

Postscript:  According to this LINK to a page on the defendant's website, the defendant is no longer able to offer snowtubing activities at its location due to a change in insurance coverage, which coverage does not provide liability protection for snowtubing activities.

I send thanks to Attorney James M. Beck of the Philadelphia office of Reed Smith law firm for bringing this case to my attention.

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