Utah Supreme Court: 9 year old not responsible for collision

RobSN

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How would this have gone if the victim were three?
Likely the same. There was no negligence. As both Forrest Gump and I have said before sh!t happens, and frankly the hypothetical 3-year old's parents would have assumed the responsibility that the aforesaid smelly stuff can happen. We, and in this hypothetical they, assume all sorts of risk when we go on the slopes, including that beginners will fall in all kinds of ways on beginner slopes and can lead to unfortunate consequences. The alternative is to stay away from all kinds of skiing. Nuff said.
 

crgildart

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I can't speak for others, but for me I like analysing these unfortunate events to learn from them. Learn what we can do or not do to avoid it happening again.
True but haven't heard anything revolutionary here. We still have no idea if the collision was a an unfortunate slow motion bump and awkward fall or a considerable impact at speed i.e. " got blasted". Lessons here are don't over terrain your kid (not sure that is what happened either), and don't stop in the middle, especially in heavy traffic areas. Nothing earth shattering.. now 8 pages.. We need SNOW!!!
 

Popeye Cahn

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True but haven't heard anything revolutionary here. We still have no idea if the collision was a an unfortunate slow motion bump and awkward fall or a considerable impact at speed i.e. " got blasted". Lessons here are don't over terrain your kid (not sure that is what happened either), and don't stop in the middle, especially in heavy traffic areas. Nothing earth shattering.. now 8 pages.. We need SNOW!!!
Amen brother...
 

fatbob

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It's a decision. But forget about the absolutism. The only person probably that absolutely knows what happened was the dad and his testimony was enough to convince multiple courts. But guess what no-one knows if his account was absolute objective truth. Reality is he may have overterrained his daughter or failed to check she could stop or assumed he'd be able to catch her if she got out of control. But it seems his negligence wasn't deeply probed beyond putting her in lessons the year before( really and she didn't still need lessons this year?).

To me those things are at least as negligent as someone taking a photo standing on a run - perhaps of a kid or grandkid doing the same learning to ski.

Like I said it doesn't feel like it's a terrible decision but I've always believed in stand to the side and look uphill because you never know what carnage might be rolling down above you. Less easy for instructors exposed to these hazards every day hence I sympathise with @LiquidFeet.
 

coskigirl

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I think the lesson here is settle out of court.

For who? The defendants got a relatively quick summary judgment, it never went to trial. Why would they entertain settlement discussions? I’m guessing they never even happened beyond an initial offer from the plaintiff before judgment. After the decision in their favor they really shouldn’t settle.
 

coskigirl

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True but haven't heard anything revolutionary here. We still have no idea if the collision was a an unfortunate slow motion bump and awkward fall or a considerable impact at speed i.e. " got blasted". Lessons here are don't over terrain your kid (not sure that is what happened either), and don't stop in the middle, especially in heavy traffic areas. Nothing earth shattering.. now 8 pages.. We need SNOW!!!

If the bar for discussion on this forum was revolutionary, I think it’d kill most of the discussions.
 

fatbob

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Then why 7 pages of discussion here? Again I haven't seen anyone saying it was the wrong decision. What else is there to talk about?

Well we're all skiers and vulnerable to the sorts of collision here even if we stand to the side of the run. If my knee gets shattered by an out of control 9 year old, a 16 year old hotshot trying to buzz me or a liquored up Texan I still end up in hospital and addendant life issues. Just the guilt/ liability of the other party may differ and thus my personal costs in an "accident" where I have not been negligent. If being 9 years old is a get out of liabilty card then it's useful to know because that could be turned around. If i dropped a shoulder to deflect a careering 9 yr old and they ended up concussed do I then become the guilty party?

At what age does responsibility vest? 12? 15? 16? 18? 21? Why does a good and responsible ski club kid get held responsible for an accident because of his experience level and an irresponsible yahoo get off the hook because they haven't had the benefit of being "taught" to ski?
 
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Seldomski

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A few times people have tried to blame Ms. Donovan for 'negligent' behavior, stopping in the 'middle of a green.' This is from the decision linked earlier by @coskigirl

"S.S. was skiing in a “wedge,” a common maneuver taught to beginner skiers to help them slow down, with the front tips of her skis together. She was traveling at approximately five miles per hour when she suddenly lost control and came out of the wedge. Although S.S. tried to “get back into” the wedge to slow down, she could not regain control and instead “just kind of straightened out.” This caused her to accelerate past her father and collide with Stephanie Donovan. Ms. Donovan had stopped “just right of center” on the run to take a photograph of her husband and daughter. As Ms. Donovan was putting her camera away, she heard S.S. scream “look out!” But Ms. Donovan did not have time to react, and S.S. crashed into her from behind. Ms. Donovan suffered injuries to her arm and shoulder."

So Ms. Donovan was not taking a random picture of the terrain or selfie for social media. She was taking a picture of her family skiing, a perfectly reasonable thing to do on the slopes (if skier traffic is minimal). The brief doesn't mention anything about how crowded the run was or if taking a photo would be 'negligent.' It does mention the resort was about to close and this was probably last lift of the day. I am not sure how much traffic ends up on this run specifically as the resort closes. I think most traffic in on the parallel run "Home Run" at end of day.

Based on the facts presented, I think the ruling is reasonable. I don't see how you facilitate learning to ski otherwise (without major overhauls). I am sympathetic to the plaintiff. I can certainly imagine/speculate some scenarios where it would feel like an unfair ruling and I could have been convinced to appeal multiple times, but those facts are not presented...
 
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tromano

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For who? The defendants got a relatively quick summary judgment, it never went to trial. Why would they entertain settlement discussions? I’m guessing they never even happened beyond an initial offer from the plaintiff before judgment. After the decision in their favor they really shouldn’t settle.
For the plaintiff.
 
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tromano

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Just wanted to point out that the fact the daughter had had previous ski lessons shows that the parents were above average in taking care to ensure she could ski safely. Basically the opposite of negligence.
 

g-force

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I say again that the child is not the important point.
An oblivious adult parked in the middle of the run is.
The test for this is the oblivious adult getting hit by an out of control novice Adult. Sue the Adult on the Beginner hill for colliding with an oblivious lump parked and facing the nice view instead of watching the traffic ? Not on my watch. I ski around saying ' Don't Park There '. I ski by someone from behind I say 'Comin' Through'. I ski by someone about to pull out from the side of the run I say ' Comin' Through'. ps: NO Earbuds !!
The test for this is "Do you drive your car this way ?" Stop in the middle of the four-lane to take a picture. Pull out of your driveway without a care in the world ; make a two-lane right hand turn ...without checking yo' mirrors ?. Same goes for resuming skiing without looking up-hill ...or parking under a damn roller... Or parking in the Middle of a run on a crest. This goes for ski-school too.
 
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sparty

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...The test for this is "Do you drive your car this way ?" Stop in the middle of the four-lane to take a picture. Pull out of your driveway without a care in the world ; make a two-lane right hand turn ...without checking yo' mirrors ?. Same goes for resuming skiing without looking up-hill ...or parking under a damn roller... Or parking in the Middle of a run on a crest. This goes for ski-school too.
As a ski-town resident, I can assure you that for many tourists, the answer to "do you drive your car this way?" is "yes."
 

Rich McP

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As a ski-town resident, I can assure you that for many tourists, the answer to "do you drive your car this way?" is "yes."
True statement...except the woman in question lives in PC. That fact suggests that there is a good chance that she knows better. Or, at least she should.
 
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