Last week a federal judge dismissed a Massachusetts couple’s lawsuit against the operators of Loon Mountain ski resort in New Hampshire, saying the companies can’t be held liable for a crash between a ski instructor and a teenage boy. Susan and Michael Hanus sued Loon Mountain Recreation Corp. and Boyne USA after their 13-year-old son was run over by a ski instructor. The boy suffered a concussion, broken arm and broken leg when the instructor on a snowboard collided with him in February 2011.
Under New Hampshire state law, skiers are not permitted to sue resorts over injuries resulting from skiing’s inherent risks, including collisions with other skiers. The couple argued that the immunity granted to ski areas didn’t apply in their case because the resort employee violated the law by skiing across a closed trail.
But U.S. District Court Judge Joseph Laplante rejected that argument in a ruling last week, saying the law makes no exceptions for collisions with skiers who are violating the law, nor does it except collisions with ski area employees, even when they are violating the law or acting recklessly.
“The mere fact that (the boy) collided with a ski area employee who was behaving negligently or recklessly does not remove the collision from the realm of skiing’s inherent risks, at least as far as the statutory language is concerned,” he wrote.
The couple’s suit against the ski instructor is pending, as is a countersuit filed by the ski resort operator against the couple.