A Nova Scotia man has lost his lawsuit against a former high school student, and her school, for a ski accident that occurred at Ski Martock, a ski resort located near Windsor, Nova Scotia, Canada. Sacred Heart School of Halifax student Anna Sperker collided with Harold Lownds while skiing down the Strawberry Jinx run on Feb. 28, 2007.
Sperker, who was visiting Ski Martock for a class trip, hit Lownds while he was stopped on the hill with his back to oncoming skiers. Lownds was waiting for friends to catch up with him, talking to other skiers at the time of the collision. He suffered a grade three shoulder separation on impact.
Lownds filed a lawsuit against Sperker and the Sacred Heart School of Halifax with the Nova Scotia Supreme Court seeking damages for money lost as a result of his injuries. He testified that his wife had to occasionally miss work to drive him to medical appointments during the six weeks he couldn’t drive while his arm was in a sling. He also claimed lost income since he was unable to continue working as a self-employed IT consultant during his recovery period. His claimed losses included such medical expenses as massage appointments, physiotherapy, parking and mileage, and tickets for a Halifax Mooseheads game he had tickets for but could not attend. He also asked for reimbursement of non-refundable fees associated with a family ski trip to New Hampshire he had to cancel.
Sperker, who was 14 at the time of the collision, testified that she was skiing in a controlled manner until she hit a bump. Lownds’ lawyer argued that the injuries the plaintiff suffered as a result of the collision suggest Sperker was travelling too fast for the conditions.
Justice David MacAdam ruled that the consequences of the impact could have been influenced by a number of factors including the area of impact, the plaintiff’s posture, whether the plaintiff was moving, the slope of the hill and Sperker’s speed.
MacAdam found that the plaintiff’s case did not successfully establish that the collision was the result of Sperker, or her school, acting in a negligent manner. The justice did however find that Lownds was himself negligent. Even without consideration of the Alpine Responsibility Code, it is common sense that one does not stand still in a ski trail with their back to two hills on which there are oncoming skiers,” the court finding concluded.