Crystal Mountain ski patroller injured in 2014 lift crash takes legal action, again - InfoNews

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Crystal Mountain ski patroller injured in 2014 lift crash takes legal action, again

File photo
Image Credit: From/crystalresort.ca
July 23, 2020 - 7:30 AM

A Kelowna man is persevering with further legal action more than six years after a West Kelowna ski lift crashed to the ground leaving him in critical condition.

Former volunteer ski patroller Kevin Gourlay was one of four people riding the Crystal Mountain Ski Resort chairlift in March 2014 that were taken to hospital after the wire carrying the chairlifts they were sitting on became detached from the tower causing the chairs to fall to the ground.

Crystal Mountain Resort closed following the ski lift incident and has yet to reopen.

Gourlay filed a Notice of Civil Claim against the ski resort at the Vernon courthouse, July 17. The legal action follows a 2016 personal injury claim which became long complex and ended up with Gourlay losing in the B.C. Court of Appeal earlier this month.

In the notice of claim filed July 17, Gourlay alleges Crystal Mountain breached an earlier agreement to pay damages after the company obtained an order to adjourn the trial several months before it was due to start in August 2019.

FILE PHOTO - The cable derailed on the chairlift at Crystal Mountain Resort injuring four people, two critically on Saturday, Mar. 1, 2014.
FILE PHOTO - The cable derailed on the chairlift at Crystal Mountain Resort injuring four people, two critically on Saturday, Mar. 1, 2014.
Image Credit: Contributed/Zack Tereposky

According to the notice of claim, Gourlay along with his spouse Meagan Harvey, who was also involved in the chairlift crash, along with another plaintiff, had entered into an agreement with Crystal Mountain in January 2018. The contract stated the ski hill would pay damages as assessed at a trial by a judge. The contract also stated the trial would not deal with the issue of liability. Five years after the incident a trial date was set for August 2019 which should have wrapped up the proceedings.

However, several months before the trial the defendants received a copy of unsuccessful claims made by Gourlay and Harvey to WorkSafeBC some years earlier. WorkSafeBC had denied the couple's claims following the incident on the basis they were volunteers on the mountain and not paid employees.

Shortly before the trial was due to begin, the defendants learned of a recent decision from the Workers' Compensation Appeal Tribunal which ruled that volunteers may be classed as workers if they receive some benefit from the volunteer work. The ski resort promptly filed an order to adjourn the trial, putting several years of legal work on hiatus.

Meagan Harvey told iNFOnews.ca she had settled the case out of court in September 2019.

The recently filed Notice of Claim lists the personal injury claim filed in 2016 and says that Gourlay was a volunteer ski patroller and certified commercial diver at the time of the incident. The court paperwork says Gourlay injured his feet, ankles, left calf and right knee, as well as other injuries and suffers ongoing chronic pain.

The court documents say Gourlay has suffered "discomfort, loss of enjoyment of life, permanent physical disability, past wage loss and loss of future earnings."

The Notice of Claim also states Crystal Mountain neglected to maintain the chairlifts and failed to comply with B.C. safety standards.

Crystal Mountain have not filed a response to the claim. The allegations have not been proven in court.


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