Bourgeois v. Snow Time, Inc.

In February 2013, the plaintiffs purchased a snow tubing season pass from the defendant mountain resort. The reverse side of the season pass contained a release agreement, which provided that the signatory both assumed all the risks of snow tubing and released the resort from liability.  Plaintiff skimmed the release agreement and signed it. The following day, the plaintiff hyperextended his spinal cord, resulting in quadriplegia, at the mountain resort when the snow tube he was riding collided with a folded “deceleration mat” that the resort’s employees had placed at the bottom of a hill to slow down snow tubing patrons and prevent them from traveling beyond the run-out area. The deceleration mats were anti-slip, anti-fatigue mats marketed for use in commercial kitchens and not specifically designed for use as snow tube deceleration devices. Affixed to each snow tube was a warning label. In 2015, the plaintiffs sued, alleging negligence, gross negligence, recklessness, and loss of consortium. The trial court subsequently granted the defendants’ motion for summary judgment, and the Superior Court reversed. In Bourgeois v. Snow Time, Inc., the Pennsylvania Supreme Court reversed the Superior Court, holding the Superior Court erred in excusing the trial court’s failure to view the experts’ conclusions in the light most favorable to the Bourgeoises. The trial court’s written opinions explaining its conclusion that the plaintiffs did not produce sufficient evidence to show gross negligence or recklessness completely lacked any discussion or citation of the reports.

Bourgeois