Ski Shawnee Inc., the company that owns Shawnee Mountain Ski Area in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania was named in a wrongful death lawsuit for the accident that resulted in the death of a Blair Academy Boarding High School student in 2017.
The estate of 15-year-old student Juliette Dajani has accused Shawnee Mountain Ski Area, Blair Academy, and the academy’s ski coach of negligence and recklessness in a multi-count suit.
According to the wrongful death suit, Dajani began attending Blair Academy in Fall 2016. As required by the academy, the student had to join an organized sports activity. Dajani, who was raised in Singapore, had limited experience skiing. However, she was permitted to join the team by the team’s head coach, John Padden.
Per the Blair Academy website, members of the team “must be able to ski nearly any trail, on any mountain, under any condition”. The ski team went to its second practice at Shawnee Ski Resort on Jan. 6, 2017. Dajani was not present at the previous practice that took place on Jan. 4, 2017.
So, How Did This Happen?
Despite her lack of experience, when Coach Padden accompanied her to buy equipment, they actually wound up purchasing racing style skis. On Jan. 9, 2017, Dajani was skiing down a trail of the mountain known as Upper Tomahawk. It is described as being of moderate or intermediate difficulty. She stopped at the top of Lower Tomahawk Trail. Padden and others were setting up a racecourse on that trail, according to the suit.
The suit goes on to allege that Padden then directed the inexperienced Dajani to continue skiing down Lower Tomahawk Trail. It is known as an advanced black diamond trail. Dajani skied down the trail. She then gained considerable speed, lost control and slammed into PVC pipes enclosing metal rods. The pipes were surrounding snow-making equipment at the bottom of the trail. Dajani was transported to Lehigh Valley Hospital-Pocono where she passed away at around 6 p.m. that night due to multiple blunt force injuries.
Lawyers from the firm Feldman Shepherd Wohlgelernter Tanner Weinstock and Dodig LLP are representing Ruth DiDonato, the administratrix of Dajani’s estate. They are certainly in good hands with this firm. However, if you are not in that area of the country, but located in Florida and suffered a wrongful death situation in your family, then you must contact the Offices of Wrongful Death Attorney Morgan McGrath.
The Lawsuit Alleges a Myriad of Charges
1 – Shawnee Mountain failed to properly design trails.
2 – They failed to properly protect skiers due to the placement of the equipment, concealing metal rods within PVC pipe surrounding the snow-making equipment.
3 – They failed to erect suitable and necessary barricades around that equipment, concealed the danger by erecting inadequate fencing.
4 – Allowing Blair Academy’s ski team to utilize the mountain for ski racing without evaluating the competence of skiers or coaches.
5 – Failing to follow appropriate standards regarding safe design and operation of a ski area.
These are just the top complaints as there are other detailed in the suit.
The suit was originally filed in Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania in Dec. 2017. It was closed and reopened in Monroe County in 2018. Under Pennsylvania state law, plaintiffs in a civil case are not permitted to suggest an award to the jury, but a representative from the firm claimed they would be seeking the maximum recovery amount permitted by law.