Cipriani & Werner, P.C. Secures Another Defense Verdict for PA Skiing Industry

Anthony W. Hinkle, Esq., Firmwide Chair of the General Liability Practice, recently obtained a defense verdict in a jury trial for his ski resort operator client.

Plaintiff, a 16-year-old first-time skier from Saudi Arabia, filed a lawsuit against Blue Mountain Resort.  She alleged that after arriving at the top of the chairlift, she changed her mind and asked for help, but maintained that help was not provided.  She then proceeded to ski down a more difficult trail where she fell, slid off the slope and sustained serious, life-changing injuries.  Blue Mountain maintained, at all times, that Ski Patrol would have provided help had Plaintiff or any member of her family requested assistance.

Front and center in the case was the longstanding no-duty/inherent risk doctrine, the legal principle that ski areas rely upon to survive.  After a three-day trial, the jury was out for 37 minutes before returning to the courtroom.  They answered only question 1 on the verdict slip -- whether Plaintiff’s claim was barred by an inherent risk of the recreational sport of downhill skiing.  The jury answered the question “Yes,” finding that Blue Mountain owed no duty of care.  To that end, the jurors clearly understood the risks associated with downhill skiing and had no difficulty in applying the law to the facts of the case.

If you have any questions about this case, please contact Anthony Hinkle, Esq. at AHinkle@c-wlaw.com or (610) 567-0700.