Monday, March 20, 2023

Judge Mannion of Federal Middle District Addresses Motion for Summary Judgment in a Skiing Accident Case

In the case of Mattei v. Tuthill Corp., No. 3:19-CV-2196 (M.D. Pa. Feb. 28, 2023 Mannion, J.), the court denied a Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment in a case arising out of a skiing accident. 
As noted by Judge Malachy E. Mannion at the outset of his Opinion, this case raised questions as to the inherent risks of downhill skiing, the enforceability of releases on lift tickets, and the legal sufficiency of the facts alleged by the Plaintiff relative to the Defendant's alleged gross negligence and recklessness.

The court reviewed the terms of the Pennsylvania Skier's Responsibility Act and ruled that the “no duty” rule relieving ski resorts of liability under the Act for common and inherent risk attendant with skiing was in dispute in this matter because it was unclear as to whether the Plaintiff was skiing on or off a designated trail at the Blue Mountain Resort in the Poconos.  

Judge Malachy E. Mannion additionally noted that there was other conflicting evidence as to whether the hazard at issue was perceptible to skiers.

The court found that whether a certain danger is perceptible to skiers is generally relevant to the question of whether that risk is inherent to downhill skiing.

The court additionally found that the Defendant had not proven that the Plaintiff’s negligence claims were barred by the exculpatory release contained on the back of the lift ticket.

Judge Mannion noted that, in this case, the lift ticket was an exemplar. There was no other proof offered beyond a disputed inference that the Plaintiff actually received a lift ticket.

Given that the court also found that there were genuine issues of material fact relative to the Defendant’s alleged gross negligence and recklessness involving an alleged conscious disregard of the risk of harm allegedly posed by an alleged five foot ditch on the ski trail, summary judgment was denied.

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

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

Source of image:  Photo by Mati Mango on

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