College seeks dismissal in 2005 ski crash caseA Goodhue County judge will decide whether a personal injury case against a Minnesota college should be thrown out.
By: Mike Longaecker, The Republican Eagle
A Goodhue County judge will decide whether a personal injury case against a Minnesota college should be thrown out.
John McDonald Jr., an attorney for St. Olaf College, on Friday filed a motion to dismiss the case, which alleges the institution and Welch Village Ski Area are liable for injuries to a ski racer involved in a 2005 crash.
"He consented to the inherent risks of the run," McDonald said in court.
First District Court Judge Thomas Bibus took the case under advisement and will likely issue a ruling after several weeks.
Kristoffer Larsen was taking a practice run March 2, 2005, on Welch Village's black-diamond run Bakkelyka when he lost control on a slalom course and smashed into a chairlift tower.
Mark Streed, an attorney for Larsen - a Norwegian citizen who was attending Northfield's St. Olaf College in 2005 - refuted McDonald's claims. He said St. Olaf's ski coach set the course in a negligent manner that "failed to protect skiers."
Streed said Larsen received two broken legs, a skull fracture and traumatic brain injury in the crash. He said Larsen was left with ongoing headaches and moderate cognitive deficits.
Larsen, who raced for the St. Olaf ski team, assumed some risk on the day of the crash, Streed said.
"But he did not assume risk of an unpadded steel plate," he told Bibus, referring to a contested point about the lift tower's padding.
McDonald contended that Larsen should have identified the lift tower during an inspection of the course, a common pre-race practice used by racers to identify course structure.
"Based on the testimony of Mr. Larsen and others, he was aware of the risks and assumed (them) by racing and becoming injured," McDonald said outside the courtroom.
The case is set for an April 2010 trial.