Family’s injuries at Hermit’s Hollow prompt lawsuit

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SANDPOINT — A Washington state couple is seeking damages from Schweitzer Mountain Resort for injuries a woman sustained on its tubing course.

Laurie and William Farmer of King County are seeking damages in excess of $100,000, according to a lawsuit filed in 1st District Court on Wednesday.

Counsel for Laurie Farmer contends she suffered permanent damage to her left knee after careening off the end of inner-tubing course and landed in a ravine on Feb. 15, 2015.

The 25-page civil complaint alleges that the Farmers and their two minor children were drawn to the Hermit’s Hollow tubing area because of slushy conditions on the resort’s ski slopes.

The couple’s counsel, Meridian attorney Matthew Williams, said above-freezing temperatures in the week leading up to the incident, which melted top layers of the snowpack. However, those temperatures dipped below freezing overnight and re-froze the melted layers.

An unidentified 5-year-old went down the course, crested a run-out berm at the bottom of the course and dislodged fencing that was staked into the snow. Employees placed rubber chevrons at the bottom of the course to help slow tubers, but they didn’t repair the fencing, the suit said.

The adult Farmers tethered their tubes with their kid’s tubs and set down the course. Their tubes shot over the run-out berm and through the fencing, according to the suit. Laurie Farmer suffered back, neck and knee injuries.

Laurie Farmer’s husband and child suffered scrapes, cuts and bruises, the lawsuit said.

The Farmers are seeking damages for negligence, dangerous conditions, negligent supervision, misrepresentation and other claims. The couple contends they were led to believe the tubing course was safe.

Schweitzer was sued in 2013 after a woman was injured on the tubing course, but the litigation was ultimately dismissed with prejudice, 1st District Court records show.

Matthews said his clients signed a release of liability prior to using the tubing course, but he argues the document is “procedurally and substantively unconscionable.”

“The tubing agreement addresses the inherent risks associated with snow tubing. The release does not and cannot release the defendants from unreasonably dangerous conditions or unreasonable risks of harm or injury are not contemplated within the release,” Matthews wrote.

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