Superior Court upholds dismissal of Seven Springs chairlift accident case

By Carrie Salls | Aug 31, 2017

HARRISBURG – The dismissal of a lawsuit filed after a man who fell from a chairlift and was injured at Seven Springs Mountain Resort Inc. was upheld in an Aug. 7 ruling from the state Superior Court.

According to the Superior Court decision, Wayne E. and Tracie Mankowski sued Seven Springs after Wayne Mankowski fell from a chairlift at the resort in February 2015.

Specifically, the ruling said Wayne Mankowski was allegedly trying to help his son onto the chairlift when he fell off and “landed on a bolt on the base of the chairlift tower.” Mankowski claims Seven Springs should have made sure that patrons were properly protected from the “dangerous” bolt.

The Mankowskis also argued on appeal that the bolt in question should not be covered as an activity “inherent in the sport of skilling” under Pennsylvania’s Skiers’ Responsibility Act.

The Court of Common Pleas of Somerset County threw out the Mankowskis' case when it granted Seven Springs’ preliminary objections to the lawsuit.

Specifically, the Superior Court said the lower court “found that appellants’ complaint was barred by the act.”

The act states that, “It is recognized that as in some other sports, there are inherent risks in the sport of downhill skiing. (2) The doctrine of voluntary assumption of risk as it applies to downhill skiing injuries and damages is not modified by [Pennsylvania’s general comparative negligence rule].”

In addition, the Superior Court said the state Supreme Court previously found that “The assumption of the risk defense, as applied to sports and places of amusement, has also been described as a ‘no-duty’ rule, i.e., as the principle that an owner or operator of a place of amusement has no duty to protect the user from any hazards inherent in the activity.”

In affirming the Court of Common Pleas’ decision to grant Seven Springs’ preliminary objections, the Superior Court said the Mankowski case “involves a straightforward application of the act."

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