Injured man suing Olympic organizers

By Bob Mackin, QMI Agency

VANCOUVER: A chauffeur is suing organizers of the 2010 Winter Olympics and owners of the freestyle skiing and snowboarding venue for negligence after he collided with snow grooming equipment.

A British Columbia Supreme Court statement of claim filed Jan. 20 said David Leonard Avery of Vancouver was skiing in-bounds Feb. 4, 2008 at Cypress Mountain “down a narrow trail bordered by temporary fencing, when he fell and struck his head and body against the equipment which was parked at or near the fencing.”

The lawsuit claims VANOC, Cypress Bowl Recreations and parent company Boyne USA Resorts were negligent because the equipment was parked in a hazardous manner and they failed to erect a barrier, warning sign or lights to minimize the risk for skiers and snowboarders.

Avery claims he sustained permanent physical disability when he injured his head, face, right cheek, neck, right shoulder and back. It says he also suffered a concussion, including memory loss and depression. Avery is seeking damages to cover future care costs, loss of wages and opportunity to earn income.

Cypress was closed Jan. 13 because rain and high temperatures related to El Nino have melted snow from the Olympic courses. VANOC said Jan. 20 that it is preparing to use tractors and helicopters to move snow from elsewhere to avoid cancellation of events.

VANOC has not filed a statement of defence and the claims have not been tested in court.

The lawsuit is the first against VANOC in 2010 and first since a wrongful dismissal complaint was settled out of court a week before Christmas.

Former United States Secret Service agent Steve Sierros was fired without cause on March 4, 2009 from his $91,800-a-year job as security manager for VANOC chief executive John Furlong. Sierros’ statement of claim said he was a “valuable and reliable employee. “ VANOC court filings did not criticize Sierros or his work.

POLL