Luge track operator likely not liable for teenagers' deaths: lawyer

CALGARY -- It is unlikely the operator of a high-performance training facility in Calgary would be held legally responsible for the deaths of two teenage brothers who took an after-hours toboggan run down an Olympic luge-bobsled track, says a liability lawyer.

See Full Article

Peter Collins said the fact that twins Jordan and Evan Caldwell, 17, were former employees at Canada Olympic Park makes it especially improbable that site operator WinSport would be held liable for the incident.

"An owner of property who invites people on has a general obligation to make the property safe," Collins said on Sunday. "But that general obligation and liability doesn't extend in the same way to trespassers."

The Caldwell brothers were killed and six other teenage boys injured -- one critically -- after their sled crashed into a gate separating the luge and bobsled tracks early Saturday.

The twin brothers had worked as "Hill Ambassadors" at the facility last winter.

It's likely they would have been familiar with security protocols and known how to evade measures used to keep people off the track, Collins said.

He described the incident as tragic but said the presence of fencing and security patrols means WinSport likely took the appropriate security steps.

Occupiers' liability law in Alberta provides little protection for trespassers but does require owners to secure their property if it poses a danger to a child.

"It's one thing for an eight-year-old child to see a water slide connect to a swimming pool. If you've got some teenagers, especially older teenagers, who have very specifically worked at the facility, it would be hard to say that they didn't appreciate the risk," Collins said.

WinSport's argument that the boys were trespassers is "not necessarily a slam-dunk defence," said liability lawyer Scott Cozens, from Calgary.

It's difficult to say for certain that WinSport wouldn't be found responsible without knowing all the facts, he said.

"You can be negligent if somebody drowns in your swimming pool even if you didn't let them in, even though you had a fence around it," he said.

Lawyer Cozens noted that even if the company knew staff sneaked into the facility and did nothing to stop it, "that doesn't necessarily mean it's an invitation for all and sundry to break into the premises and use it."

WinSport President and CEO Roger Sloane responded to questioning from reporters on Saturday about how easy it is to access the sliding track, saying "robust security measures" are employed to keep people out. An investigation will ultimately reveal how the teenagers were able to gain entry, he added.

When asked about accounts from alleged former staff of a tradition of being reckless after hours and going down chutes, Heck said he had no knowledge of such instances.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Hawaii summits could get more than 2 feet of snow

    World News CTV News
    HONOLULU -- The summits of Hawaii's Big Island could get more than two feet of snow, with a winter storm warning in effect through Saturday. Yes, it snows in Hawaii, Matthew Foster, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Honolulu, said he had to explain to some surprised out-of-state callers Friday. Source
  • Toronto-area doctor charged with first-degree murder in wife's death

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO -- Police say a Toronto neurosurgeon is to appear in court Saturday facing a first-degree murder charge in the death of his wife. The body of Elana Fric Shamji, 40, was found Thursday in Vaughan, Ont. Source
  • Military advances fight against sexual misconduct

    Canada News CTV News
    Days after victims of military sexual assault raised concerns about lenient sentences, CTV News has learned of a new directive from Canada’s top soldier to remove from their jobs anyone who has committed sexual misconduct. Source
  • What U.S. presidents said about ties with China and Taiwan

    World News CTV News
    President-elect Donald Trump spoke Friday with Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen, a highly unusual and probably unprecedented move since the U.S. broke diplomatic ties with the self-governing island in 1979 and shifted to diplomatic recognition of China under a so-called "one-China" policy. Source
  • 21 Chinese miners trapped for 4 days confirmed dead

    World News CTV News
    BEIJING -- Twenty-one miners who were trapped for four days after an explosion hit their unlicensed coal mine have been confirmed dead, and four people have been arrested in connection with the disaster, state-run Xinhua News Agency reported Saturday. Source
  • Possible faculty member fatally stabbed at USC

    World News CTV News
    Los Angeles officials say a possible faculty member has been fatally stabbed at the University of Southern California. Los Angeles police Officer Drake Madison says the stabbing happened Friday afternoon and that the victim was a possible faculty member. Source
  • Professor fatally stabbed on USC campus, student arrested

    World News CTV News
    LOS ANGELES -- A professor was stabbed to death on the University of Southern California campus in Los Angeles on Friday and a suspect arrested in his death is a male student, a police spokeswoman said. Source
  • Amber Alert issued for Layla Sabry, 9, last seen in Welland, Ont.

    Canada News CBC News
    Police in Ontario have issued an Amber alert for a missing nine-year-old girl. Niagara Regional Police say Layla Sabry is believed to have been abducted. They describe Layla as white, about four-foot-two, with a thin build, brown hair, and brown eyes. Source
  • 21 Chinese miners die after 4 days trapped

    World News CBC News
    China's state-run Xinhua News Agency says 21 miners who were trapped for four days after an explosion have been confirmed dead. One is missing. Xinhua quoted Heilongjiang provincial authorities in northeast China as saying the miners' deaths were confirmed on Friday night. Source
  • Trump's undiplomatic chat with Taiwan president likely to anger China

    World News CBC News
    U.S. president-elect Donald Trump spoke Friday with the president of Taiwan, a move that will likely anger China. It is highly unusual, probably unprecedented, for a U.S. president or president-elect to speak directly with a leader of Taiwan, a self-governing island the U.S. Source