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Court grants summary disposition to ski area with respect to unmarked half pipe

Marvin Marshall sued Boyne, USA, after he suffered injuries including a fractured tibia, hip, right arm, left eye socket and a shattered calcaneus (heel) bone.  He argued that he suffered the injuries because Boyne had not adequatedly marked the boundaries of a half-pipe in the terrain park.  Marshall had taken a jump in the terrain park and skidded to a halt when his weight carried him into the half-pipe and he fell.  The trial judge had denied application of the Ski Area Safety Act, after ruling that the risk associated with the unmarked half-pipe was not obvious.  Boyne appealed.

The Court of Appeals majority (including the insurer's friend, Henry Saad) ruled that Boyne was immune from any negligence responsibility because the unmarked half-pipe was a "change in terrain" which is by definition an obvious danger while skiing.  Judge Joel Hoekstra dissented from Saad's opinion but agreed with the outcome.  Judge Hoekstra very reasonably pointed out that since the skiier approached the unmarked half-pipe laterally, it was not an obvious hazard:  nevertheless, since Marshall already knew of the existence of the half-pipe within the terrain park, Judge Hoekstra agreed with the application of the SASA and the dismissal of Marshall's claim.
Thompson O’Neil, P.C.
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Traverse City, Michigan 49684
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