Two falls on Squamish municipal property spark lawsuits | Squamish Chief

Two falls on Squamish municipal property spark lawsuits

The District is getting sued in two separate cases where people allegedly injured

The District of Squamish is facing two lawsuits, both involving people who allegedly fell down on municipal property.

The first lawsuit, filed on Oct. 17, 2019, alleges that Kathleen Wilson tripped and fell over a stub from a pole that had been cut and left protruding from the concrete.

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Wilson's notice of claim says this incident happened on Oct. 20, 2017 around Helfand Way and University Boulevard.

"The District owed a duty of care to [Wilson] to ensure that the portion of the sidewalk where the fall occurred was designed, constructed and maintained to a standard that would make it reasonably safe for users of the sidewalk," reads the claim.

"The fall was caused or contributed to by the negligence of the District."

Wilson alleges, among other things, that the municipality failed to ensure the sidewalk did not create a hazard for members of the public, failed to inspect the sidewalk regularly or at all, and failed to put signs or barricades to restrict movement on the sidewalk.

The claim says that Wilson suffered an injury to her right hand, scarring on her right hand, nerve damage and psychological injury.

She's seeking damages for pain, suffering and loss of income-earning capacity, among other things.

In return, the District filed a statement of response on Dec. 9, 2019, denying that the accident occurred as alleged or that Wilson suffered injuries or damages as alleged or at all.

The municipality says in the response that it did not owe a duty of care to Wilson.

If an accident occurred, the response says, Wilson's injuries were caused by her own negligence, which includes walking or running carelessly.

The District also alleges that if the accident happened, Quest University is at fault, as it was the entity that put a sign on a sidewalk without a permit from the municipality.

The District's response says that the school "placed a sign in a dangerous location where pedestrians are reasonably expected to walk through."

Quest also failed to provide notice to the District that the sign was being removed from the sidewalk, the municipality's response says.

On Jan. 27, the District was granted permission by the Supreme Court of B.C. to add Quest University as a third party to the lawsuit.

Quest University did not respond to requests for comment from The Chief, and at press deadline, the school had not filed any statements of response.

In the second lawsuit, which is separate and unrelated, Heather Nigh is seeking damages from the District after taking a fall in Brennan Park Recreation Centre on Aug. 6, 2019.

The lawsuit names the District of Squamish, Jane/John Doe and ABC Corporation as defendants.

The latter two defendants are described in the claim as an unidentified employee of the municipality and an unidentified company retained by the District to maintain the building.

Nigh's claim alleges she slipped and fell on water while walking in the family changing room.

She was on crutches, and, upon arriving at the centre, asked for a wheelchair to transport her to the wheelchair-accessible pool, the claim says.

The claim says she was not given a wheelchair.

Nigh is alleged to have suffered a fractured hip as a result of the accident and has sustained pain and suffering, and loss of earnings, among other things, the claim says.

As of press deadline, no statement of response has been filed in the case involving Nigh.

When asked for comment by The Chief, the District said these are active lawsuits and that it could not comment on the cases at this time.

However, spokesperson Christina Moore said the cases are insurance claims, and, as a result, the District’s insurer is involved.

She said the Municipal Insurance Association is responsible for the District’s insurance and hires its own lawyers to respond.

The District’s lawyers are not involved, she said.

None of the claims for the cases involving both Wilson and Nigh have been proven in court.

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