A woman is suing multiple Whistler organizations, Vail Resorts, the B.C. government, and others after she allegedly tripped and fell over a retired, decorative Catskinner chair displayed in the Upper Village nearly two years ago, fracturing her foot, according to a notice of civil claim filed Aug. 2 in B.C.’s Supreme Court.
According to the notice, Cheryl Ann Picot allegedly tripped over the chair at 4553 Blackcomb Way—which houses the Whistler Blackcomb Day Lodge, Merlin’s Bar, and more—on Aug. 28, 2021. The chair was part of Arts Whistler’s LIFTing The Community project, a pandemic-era initiative in which 15 retired Catskinner chairs were decorated by local artists and displayed around the community.
As a result of the fall, Picot alleged she suffered a fracture to her right foot, lower back pain, sleep disturbance, and other injuries. She claims the injury was caused by the defendants’—of which there are many— negligence and breach of their statutory duty of care.
The filing goes on to say the defendants failed to take reasonable care to ensure people on the premises would be “reasonably safe” by not clearly marking the potential hazards; failing to set up a barrier around where the fall occurred; failure to provide proper or adequate warning, or any warning at all, of the site’s dangerous conditions; and failing to enforce the applicable bylaws, along with several other factors.
The plaintiff is seeking general damages as a result of her alleged injuries for: experiencing pain, suffering and loss of enjoyment of life; loss of opportunity to earn income; loss of past and future housekeeping capacity; costs of future care, and further particulars to be determined.
She is seeking special damages for: past loss of income, employment benefits, business income, business opportunities and gratuities; cost of transportation to and from medical treatments; cost of medication and rehabilitation expenses; wages lost and expenses incurred by third parties on her behalf; and further particulars to be determined.
In the claim, Picot also alleged she has received and continues to receive care and services from her family, and will be “more susceptible to future injury and degenerative changes because of her injuries.”
Picot listed her address of delivery as the same one listed for her lawyer, based in Surrey.
Arts Whistler; the Whistler Arts Council; the Resort Municipality of Whistler; Vail Resorts Inc.; Vail Resorts Management Company; The Vail Corporation; Whistler Blackcomb Holdings Inc.; the province of B.C.; ABC Company; and John Doe or Jane Doe are all listed as defendants. The notice of civil claim does not list what purported role ABC nor John or Jane Doe played in the alleged fall.
None of the above claims have been proven in court.
Ex-Whistler Mayor Nancy Wilhelm- Morden, also a former trial lawyer primarily specializing in injury law, said injury suits are fairly common in the resort.
“It’s not uncommon, and certainly trips and falls are a very common type of litigation in the personal injury field,” she said. “The municipality is out there on a regular basis trying to remove hazards, because a lawsuit won’t be successful unless there’s some negligence involved.”
Wilhelm-Morden surmised the rate of injury claims is “a function of how many people come through our town in the summer and winter. It just means that the standard of care applicable to the municipality is higher than it might be otherwise, because many people not familiar with Whistler who come here to enjoy Whistler can get injured in a slip-and-fall.”