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Hardin v. Ski Venture, Inc.

United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
50 F.3d 1292 (4th Cir. 1995)


Facts

Hardin (plaintiff) sued Ski Venture, Inc. (Resort) (defendant) in federal court under diversity jurisdiction for injuries sustained in a skiing accident. Hardin alleged that the Resort was negligent in positioning a snow machine to blow uphill, using snow that was dangerously wet, and failing to provide enough room for skiers to avoid the machine’s spray, in violation of the Resort’s own policies. The Resort denied responsibility and offered an affirmative defense of assumption of risk, rooted in the West Virginia Skiing Responsibility Act (the Act), W. Va. Code § 20-3A03, which sets forth the rights and obligations of skiers and ski resort operators. At trial, the judge instructed the jury on the elements of negligence, the duties of care owed by the parties, the Act, and assumption of risk. The jury held that the Resort was not negligent. Hardin appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, arguing that the jury instructions were erroneous because they did not include specific instructions related to Hardin’s claims, were weighted in the resort’s favor, and contained extraneous instructions.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Wilkinson, J.)

Dissent (Butzner, J.)

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