Leslie McLaughlin v. CLP Mountain High, LLC, Mountain High Resort Associates, LLC, Superior Court, Los Angeles County, California Mtn. High Resort, MC023780. A Los Angeles jury returned a gross verdict of $22 million, which was then reduced by 82% for plaintiff’s own negligence. See Verdict Form. A net verdict of approximately $4 million was entered. According to pre-trial filings, on March 1, 2012 32-year old Leslie McLaughlin skied onto a table top jump which she claimed she could not see, and of which she was unaware. Her statement to ski patrol was: “On trail did not know there was a jump. It launched me and I landed on my upper back.” Snow conditions were “frozen granular.” A witness reported “I heard a lady say ‘O my God’ going about 15-20 mph, flew over a large jump and landed about 30-40 ft away from where she took off from, she landed on her head and back ‘very very hard.’” McLaughlin was not wearing a helmet.
The jump was about 6 feet high, with a 24-foot face and a 22-degree incline. A maneuver area of about 17 feet then extended past the take-off. The landing area extended about 54 feet.
No other people were injured on that day on the feature which had been groomed the night prior.
Defendant argued, from averages taken of other skiers and riders that McLaughlin was traveling at approximately 50 mph as she began to ski toward the jump, and hit the takeoff at 30 mph in order to be carried to what defendant asserts was a landing point more 81’ beyond the takeoff.
The ski area had posted signs reading: “CAUTION – Terrain Features may exist on all open trails! Be cautious, Ride with care.” Other signage warned to “look before you leap,” and “make a plan.” The incident report indicated that McLaughlin had not scoped out the feature before she jumped and had not made a plan. Mountain High Resort mobilized its defense team within 24 hours of the incident. On March 2, 2012 a survey team was on site, doing a full survey which was reduced to an AutoCAD drawing within a week. Within 34 days an expert forensic engineer was on scene.