Eleven year old Mathew Dovey died tragically and unnecessarily while skiing in March, 1993. His death led his parents, James and Ellen Dovey to make a concerted effort to call attention to ski safety. Defying smug threats made by insurance executives and senior partners for one of Denver’s largest law firms that the Doveys would be crushed with awards against them for fees and sanctions, the Doveys courageously pressed their case for wrongful death against Victoria-Breckenridge, former owners of the Breckenridge Ski Area. The claim was founded on the assertion that technology and materials were readily available, on a commercial basis and reasonably priced, to protect skiers against serious injury when they collide with man made objects.
The final Order in the case was rendered prior to the settlement by Victoria of the Doveys’ claims. The judge determines that the Colorado Ski Act allows claims against ski areas for man made objects which pose a "serious hazard" to skiers. The judge found that but for the decision in Graven v. Vail the Colorado Ski Act would be unconstitutional as it did not achieve the legitimate state purpose of preventing frivolous claims, because legitimate claims would also be prohibited.
The settlement the Doveys obtained from Victoria was contributed to a foundation formed in Matthew’s memory. The Doveys were represented in the case by Jim Chalat.
To read the court Order, click here.
Past results are no guarantee of future results.