PHILADELPHIA – An injured participant’s case against Spartan Race, Inc. and the resort area that hosted one of their events has been settled, according to a docket in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas.
Per court records, the case was settled on Jan. 17, about six weeks after a motion for summary judgment was filed by the defendants’ counsel on Dec. 5. Terms of the settlement were not disclosed.
On July 14, 2013, Raphael Duran’s complaint said he participated in a Spartan Race called the “Pennsylvania Spartan Sprint” at Blue Mountain Ski Area & Resort in Palmerton. From the start of the race at 6 a.m. until the early afternoon, race participants were released in waves of 200 people each during 15-minute intervals.
At 11:30 a.m., Raphael encountered a race obstacle called the “inverted wall” and in the process of navigating said obstacle, he suffered a broken right leg. It was the belief of the plaintiffs that the obstacle had been used in previous Spartan race in a similar dangerous condition, and that prior race participants were also injured on it. Further, the plaintiffs averred the ski area and resort’s staff were poorly-trained to deal with injured participants.
The plaintiffs sued for separate counts of negligence against Spartan Race of Wilmington, Del., Peak.Com, Inc. of Carson City, Nev., Tuthill Corporation, Blue Mountain Ski Area, Ski Blue Mountain and Blue Mountain Resort Management of Palmerton and strict liability against Spartan Race. June Duran also sued all defendants in the case for loss of consortium.
In the Dec. 5 summary judgment motion filed by Gerald J. Valentini, it was argued Duran voluntarily chose to take his friend Nathan Schlusser’s spot in the Spartan Sprint under false pretenses (a practice popularly known as “banditing” a race) and as an attorney himself, the subject plaintiff was well aware of the risks involved with participating in such an activity.
“Plaintiff knew or should have known about these warnings, and he should not be heard to claim he did not. Plaintiff is a licensed attorney for the Marshall Dennehey firm here in Philadelphia. Further, plaintiff knew he was free to avoid any, or all, of the obstacles on the course, but instead attempted all of the obstacles he faced,” Valentini said in the motion.
Valentini also argued Duran was a “trespasser” when he participated in the Spartan Sprint.
“Plaintiff was trespassing when he entered on to the Spartan Race Course. The Spartan Sprint race course is located on private land, and plaintiff intentionally entered land that he knew was in possession of another, without registering for the event himself, without paying the required registration fee, without proper identification and without signing a waiver of liability form, all of which are required for valid participants,” Valentini said.
Valentini added Duran used “false pretenses” to obtain Schlusser’s bib packet and to wear Schlusser’s bib for the event, and for all of the above reasons, Duran could not claim he was a valid participant in the event which injured him.
“Defendants were misled into believing the racer with bib number ‘11523’ was actively being used by Nathan Schlusser (not someone else), who had signed the required waiver. Defendants relied on this in good faith. Defendants were prejudiced by plaintiff’s misleading conduct, because they never would have permitted the plaintiff to compete, and would not be subject to this lawsuit if plaintiff had signed a proper waiver,” Valentini said.
The plaintiffs did not file a response to the summary judgment motion prior to the settlement of the case, according to court records.
The plaintiffs were represented by David Barry of Barry Law Firm, in Philadelphia.
The defendants were represented by Anthony W. Hinkle of Cipriani & Werner in Blue Bell, plus Valentini and Michael P. Rausch of Deasey Mahoney & Valentini, in Philadelphia.
Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas case 150603962
From the Pennsylvania Record: Reach Courts Reporter Nicholas Malfitano at firstname.lastname@example.org