Ski season is upon us!
A 25-year-old snowboarder who was run over by an out-of-control snowboarder at the base of Skibowl in the spring of 2013 is suing the snowboarder and Mt. Hood Skibowl for $125,000, saying that the resort was responsible for over-serving the man and allowing him onto the lift and the hill even though he was dangerously wasted.
According to her complaint, Katelyn Kitzke was standing with one foot strapped into her board near the base of Lower Bowl between the Rental Shop and the Fire Pit, when "a very obviously intoxicated and out-of-control snowboarder, Donald Kent," crashed into her at "approximately 30 miles per hour."
Kitke suffered a broken arm and soft-tissue injuries to her arm, necessitating several surgeries and physical therapy. She is suing Kent and Skibowl for $6,000 in lost wages, $28,692 in medical expenses and $90,000 in non-economic damages for pain and suffering.
Thomas C. Patton, the Lake Oswego attorney representing the plaintiff, said, “Katelyn is a really sweet young woman who had to undergo several surgeries as a result of Ski Bowl’s and Mr. Kent’s negligence. I just hope they can be held accountable, and she can be appropriately compensated for her injuries.”
Skibowl's attorney, Brad Stanford, said the incident report made no mention of a drunk snowboarder causing the injury. "Ski Patrol didn't even respond to the accident on the hill if there was an accident," says Stanford. "She just walked into the clinic claiming injury and didn't say anything about getting hit by a drunk snowboarder. Generally speaking, people report things that have a bearing on the accident."
Patton countered, “She was standing at the bottom of the hill when the drunk slammed into her, so she was just outside the clinic (ski patrol would not have been helpful). She was able to walk, only her arm was broken. Her arm was fractured in several places, so I’m sure she was more concerned with obtaining treatment than assigning blame.”
This is the second ongoing lawsuit that charges Skibowl with over-serving alcohol and failing to keep drunks off the slopes. A sweeping $900,000 lawsuit filed a year ago charged Skibowl with promoting an “alcohol-fueled” culture of drunken risk-taking while turning a blind eye to skiers and snowboarders who are obviously drunk and allowing them to share the slopes with families who are put at risk by drunken antics.
The larger and more sweeping lawsuit was filed last April by Portland attorney L.G. Billy Dalton and his client Maria Magdalena Stanila, who was injured in a 2012 collision with an allegedly drunk snowboarder named Kyle “Roundhouse” Sullivan.
The lawsuit contends that the 35-year-old Stanila lost the use of one of her kidneys following the collision and “may never successfully become pregnant” due to her injuries. It also argues that the 30-year-old Sullivan was visibly intoxicated on the day of the accident, had been kicked out of Skibowl bars in the past, and was carrying beer in his pocket when he crashed into Stanila.
Skibowl and Stanford have moved to have the Stanila lawsuit dismissed, arguing there is no evidence that Skibowl is at fault for the collision that injured her.
"There’s not a single person who is saying this guy was served alcohol at Skibowl," said Stanford. "He himself says he was never served there. The plaintiff never saw him at any time up until the time of the collision. There’s nobody saying that this guy was a problem at Skibowl before the collision happened. And collisions are between the two people involved. Whether he was at fault or she was, I don’t know. But collisions are common, and that’s why they are in the statute as an inherent risk of the sport.”
A judge pro tem will hear the Stanila case on March 26 in Multnomah County Circuit Court.