A judge has dismissed a Massachusetts couple’s lawsuit against the operators of a New Hampshire ski area, saying the companies can’t be held liable for a crash between a ski instructor and a teenage boy.
Susan and Michael Hanus sued Loon Mountain Recreation Corp. and Boyne USA after their 13-year-old son ended up with a concussion, broken arm and broken leg when an instructor on a snowboard collided with him in February 2011.
Under state law, skiers can’t sue resorts over injuries resulting from skiing’s inherent risks, including collisions with other skiers, but the couple argued that the immunity granted to ski areas didn’t apply in their case because the resort employee violated the law by skiing across a closed trail.
U.S. District Court Judge Joseph Laplante rejected that argument in a ruling last week, saying the law makes no exceptions for collisions with skiers who are violating the law, nor does it except collisions with ski area employees, even when they are violating the law or acting recklessly.
“The mere fact that (the boy) collided with a ski area employee who was behaving negligently or recklessly does not remove the collision from the realm of skiing’s inherent risks, at least as far as the statutory language is concerned,” he wrote.
Neither a lawyer representing the couple nor the ski resort’s lawyer responded to requests for comment last week.
The couple’s suit against the ski instructor is pending, as is the ski resort’s countersuit against the couple.