Crocker V Sundance Northwest Resorts

Our precedent case: Case name: Crocker v Sundance Northwest Resorts Ltd._______ CanLii citation: 1988 CanLII 45 (SCC)________________________ Our precedent case has played an important role in the development of Canadian law; according to our textbook, it stands for the following principle (you may quote your textbook here):

  • Duty of care
  • Voluntary assumption of risk
  • Contributory negligence

Through our research we identified the following 2 cases where our precedent case was used by the Court to help determine the outcome.

1. Case name: Burton Canada Company v. Coady,____

CanLii citation: 2013 NSCA 95 (CanLII)__________________

2. Case name: Hutchison v. Daredevil Park Inc.____________

CanLii citation: 2003 CanLII 25623 (ON SC)______________ Name of Case and Citation: Burton Canada Company v. Coady, 2013 NSCA 95 (CanLII) Type and Level of Case: Superior Court Facts:

  • On February 16, 2008, Michael Coady, a 16-year-old boy, went to the Wentworth Valley Ski Resort, which was owned by Wentworth Limited (“Wentworth”), to play snowboard.
  • On that day, Burton Canada Company (“Burton”) was promoting their snowboard with several trials and provided free energy drinks that contained a lot of caffeine.
  • Burton provided waiver documents forall of the snowboarders. On that day, Coady and his friends presented their IDs and signed the waivers.
  • After several trials in the regular ski hills, Coady wanted some challenges and he went to the hills for risk-taker. He fell because of the high speed and suffered a very serious neck fracture, and finally confined to a wheelchair.

Issues:

  • Was Michael Coady contributorily negligent? Were Burton and Wentworth negligent?
  • Did Michael Coady voluntarily assume the risk?

Legal Principles:

  • Duty of care
  • Voluntary assumption of risk
  • Contributory negligence

How the Court Applied the Principles: The court considered that Burton and Wentworth owned a duty of care to Coady. As an occupier, the company should warn snowboarders the inherent risks of snowboarding, particularly for a snowboarder who is under the age of 18. Also, some instructions should be given to the snowboarders when they want to try the unfamiliar high-end board. The court rejected Burton’s defence of voluntary assumption of risk. As the snowboarding involves certain inherent risks, these dangers and hazards may result in serious personal injury or death. However, no signature was signed on Coday’s waiver by his parents or guardians, and the tragedy could be avoided if Burton insisted on parent’s signing. Burton asserted that Coady also had contributory negligence due to previously purchasing high-caffeine energy drinks. Nevertheless, the Judge pointed out the plaintiff was not affected by the drink and he did not take any particular energy drink before the accident. Judgment: Burton and Wentworth was responsible for half of the compensation ($24,000 in total). My thoughts: The court judged that Burton and Wentworth owned duty of cares to plaintiff, Coady. In my opinion, the Court’s analysis of this case is sound, since Burton and Wentworth should take responsibility of taking care of individuals as entertainment providers, especially for a boy who is under 18 years of age. I personally do not agree with the result. The outcome was morally and ethically inappropriate, even though Coady received the compensation, which can be treated as compensatory to the plaintiff. Nevertheless, this result may increase moral risk. For some individuals who want to get a great amount of money, they may sacrifice their physical health to earn the compensation. In consideration of risk management, for any outdoor activities, sponsors should present waiver and insist it signed by teenagers’ parents or guardians, as well as verify players’ condition that not only include ages or IDs, but also contain alcohol drink or high-caffeine drink. Moreover, host ought to warn participants about the nature and potential danger of activities, which means companies also need to post signs to alarm players. Furthermore, sponsors should prepare protective equipments such as helmet and kneecap for customers’ safety. Name of Case and Citation: Hutchison v. Daredevil Park Inc., 2003 CanLII 25623 (ON SC) Type and Level of Case: Superior Court Facts:

  • The plaintiff, Mr. Hutchison went to Daredevil Park with his family and broke his ankle because of slip when he was entering the waterslide.
  • Mr. Hutchison, who had no experience on sinuous waterslide before, got hurt at the third time of using the slide.
  • There was an attendant who was responsible for the use of both serpentine slides and straight slides, but he didn’t provide Mr. Hutchison the relevant instructions.

Issues:

  • Did Daredevil Park owe a duty of care to Mr. Hutchison? If a duty existed, what standard of care was required and was the standard met?
  • Did Mr. Hutchison voluntarily assume the risk? Did he have contributory negligence?

Legal Principles:

  • Duty of care
  • Voluntary assumption of risk
  • Contributory negligence

How the Court Applied the Principle: According to the Occupiers’ Liability Act, Daredevil Park has the responsibility to ensure the safety of customers. However, in this case, when the plaintiff entered the waterslide, there was no instruction from the attendant, and no signage or other warning at the entrance. Moreover, the lack of handrails contributed to this accident. The court judged that there was no evidence to prove that Mr. Hutchison knew it was risky to use the slide, and as he already paid for the ticket, he had the legal right to enjoy the facilities safely in the park. Therefore, the voluntary assumption of risk is not applied in this case. Mr. Hutchison had no knowledge about how to use waterslides and he didn’t ask the attendant for instruction, so he had a contributory responsibility for his damage. Judgment: Daredevil Park had primary liability for the accident, so it was responsible for 80 percent of Mr. Hutchison’s injury. And Mr. Hutchison undertook 20 percent of all his damage due to contributory negligence. My thoughts: From my point of view, the outcome is legally appropriate because this kind of result for a public park that someone may get hurt is foreseeable (Just like in Crocker’s case, Sundance organised competition and provided drinks, so Crocker’s damage could be predictable). And as an occupier, it is the park’s duty to ensure customers’ safety by all reasonable precautions. Nevertheless, different from Crocker’s case, Mr. Hutchison did not sign a waiver with the park, so he had no voluntary assumption of risk. I argue that the judgment is morally acceptable. As an adult with mature thought, Mr. Hutchison was supposed to ask for instruction as he had never entered waterslides before to avoid risk, so he ought to take partial responsibility for his injury. In terms of the risk management for an organization, I believe it would be difficult for them to operate, especially in the public place since there are so many resources and labors are involved. Therefore, for Daredevil Park, it is important to train the employees as well as make enough and appropriate arrangement of employees. In addition, more signs and warnings should be built in those areas with potential risks. Comparison Both of the two cases we found used the principles in our precedent case, however, there are some differences about how they applied the principles as followed: Duty of care: In both of the two cases, Daredevil Park and Burton Company are occupiers so they have the responsibility to ensure the safety of their customers. In the Park’s case, the objective reason of the accident is the deficiency of instruction and handrails for protecting the customers, and the lack of signage or other warning at the entrance. Similarly, in Burton’s case, the company had the responsibility to warn a snowboarder, particularly who is under the age of 18, about the inherent risks of snowboarding and how to use an unfamiliar board. Voluntary assumption of risk: In the Park’s case, no waiver was signed by Mr. Hutchison, which means there was no evidence to prove that Mr. Hutchison knew it was risky to use the slide, so the voluntary assumption of risk is not applied. By contrast, in the other case, the so-called waiver agreement was signed by the plaintiff, which means the plaintiff voluntarily assumed the risk. Nevertheless, in this case, the equipment users required a contract signed by parents or guardians when the user is under age of 18, and no signature was signed by Coady’s parents or guardians. Hence, the court rejected Burton’s defence of voluntary assumption of risk because if Burton insisted on parent’s signing, the tragedy may not happen. Contributory negligence: In the Park’s case, as an adult, Mr. Hutchison had no knowledge about how to use waterslides but he didn’t ask the attendant for instruction, so he had a contributory responsibility and undertook 20 percent of all his damage. However in Burton’s case, Coady had no contributory negligence, because based on the judgment of court, it was too dangerous to let customers to try the barrel jib feature; also, it was not appropriate for the existence of such free high-energy drinks under the circumstances, so all his damage was undertaken by the company. 1

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