An Australian man who suffered life-altering injuries after a fall in Grouse Mountain’s snowboard park has been granted the right to sue the mountain by the B.C. Court of Appeal.
The B.C. Supreme Court dismissed his lawsuit in June, but a three-judge panel overturned that decision earlier this week.
Jason Apps suffered a fall at the Grouse Mountain Terrain Park, rendering him a quadriplegic, in March 2016, according to court documents published on Thursday. None of Apps’ allegations have been tested in court.
Apps claims that the mountain was negligent in how it designed the park and was in breach of the Occupier’s Liability Act. He alleges that the mountain failed to warn of the risk for serious injury in its waiver printed on the back of his lift ticket.
In June, a trial judge dismissed Apps’ case, saying that he was bound by the terms of the waiver printed on the ticket, and that as an employee himself at a ski resort in Whistler he would have known his rights and risks. The judge also agreed with Grouse Mountain that there were adequate warning signs posted around the mountain.
But this week, the court of appeal found that the warning signage shouldn’t have been considered in the original decision. Instead, the judge should have looked at just the waiver notice posted at the ticket booth, which they found to be “difficult to read,” among other issues, according to court documents.
“By the time Mr. Apps arrived at the terrain park, he had paid for his non-refundable ticket, taken the lift up the mountain, and had begun snowboarding,” the decision reads.
“It was far too late to give notice of what was in the waiver. That had to be done at or before the ticket booth.”
The three-judge panel also determined that the fact Apps had used waivers in his work in Whistler played no relevant role in Grouse Mountain’s argument.
“I do not think the fact that Mr. Apps had some previous awareness that when he signed an agreement at Whistler, he was waiving legal rights of some sort, can satisfy that obligation in this case,” the decision reads.
Because the ruling did not make a ruling on the merits of the lawsuit, a trial date will be set at a later time in front of a new judge.