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Family sues Ski Bowl over daughter's death

By Kim Tobin
Published On: Nov 21 2012 07:52:05 PM CST
Updated On: Nov 21 2012 08:11:12 PM CST

NewsChannel 21's Kim Tobin spoke with a Bend attorney who has experience with wrongful death cases, about a Sandy family filing a lawsuit against Ski Bowl after their 17 year old daughter died in an accident.

BEND, Ore. -

Ten months after a Sandy teen died in a snowboarding accident on Mount Hood, her parents filed a lawsuit against the ski resort Wednesday, and a Bend attorney weighed in on the case for NewsChannel 21.

Last January, Taylur DeWolf, 17, died after hitting a tree at Ski Bowl. Her parents say they believe she would still be alive if she knew the dangers of the Dog Leg Trail.

The trail is listed listed as "blue" (intermediate), but DeWolf's parents say there is a steep drop off that led her to hit a tree and die, even though she was wearing a helmet.

"I think that ultimately, it will come down to the fact finders, a jury," said Bend attorney Andrew Mathers. "I believe it's a question of fact, and not a matter of law."

Mathers has worked several wrongful death cases in the past. He said people who mark the trails and skiers who have ridden the trail in the past will most likely testify, if the case goes to trial.

Either way, the parents want details of the investigation that Ski Bowl completed.

"They ignored us," Harry DeWolf said. "We asked them as nice as we possibly could, without coming to this stuff. And they essentially told us, if you want that information, sue us."

Ski Bowl issued a statement Wednesday saying "...The documents requested by the DeWolf's attorney consisted of 48 categories of documents, potentially constituting thousands of pages, most of which were completely unrelated to the accident. It was not possible to respond to such broad requests."

Each skier who buys a lift ticket accepts that resort's liability agreement, essentially saying if anything happens to them, they cannot hold the resort responsible.

"You can understand the inherent risks of skiing because people get hurt skiing," Mathers said. "But on the other hand, there's a public policy against entering into a contract that does away with any liability due to their negligence."

DeWolf's parents are suing the resort for more than $500,000. The run has been listed as intermediate for decades, and Ski Bowl officials say no similar incident has ever happened there before.

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