$1.1M Park City Verdict in Utah Brain Injury Skiing Accident. A significant verdict this afternoon in an action over a skier-skier collision at Deer Valley Resort.
Plaintiff’s counsel was David Cutt of Eisenberg Gilchrist & Cutt. Defense counsel was Lloyd Jones of Peterson Associates, Farmers Insurance Exchange.
Plaintiff claimed that defendant was skiing out of control when he ran into plaintiff at the “beach” at the bottom of several Deer Valley runs. He claimed significant brain injuries from the collision. Defendant in turn blamed plaintiff for the collision, and disputed the existence of the alleged brain trauma. An interesting fact is that both the plaintiff and defendant were ski instructors; indeed, the injured plaintiff was attending a conference of ski instructors at Deer Valley.
A four-day jury trial was held on March 23- 27 before Judge Todd Shaughnessy. Stipulated economic (special) damages were $86,000.
The jury returned a verdict for plaintiff of $86,000 for special damages and $1,000,000 in non-economic (general) damages. However, the jury also found plaintiff to be 45% at fault, which means a net verdict to plaintiff of around $600,000.
The panel consisted of five people from the Park City area, and three from the more conservative Eastern side of Summit County. Interestingly, on all special verdict questions the jury divided 6-2.
I spoke with plaintiff’s counsel just after the trial. He was happy with the verdict, and notes that this is yet another verdict disproving the old adage that “Utah juries will not award significant non-economic damages.”
BRETT CHAMBERLAIN vs. DAVID HEDDERLY-SMITH, 3RD DISTRICT COURT- SILVER SUMMIT,
SUMMIT COUNTY, #120500092 (Judge Todd Shaughnessy.)