The Regional District of Nanaimo has responded to a lawsuit by arguing that a child should have been more aware of his surroundings after he allegedly fell more than four metres onto a concrete stairwell.
In July 2017, Vancouver resident Nicole Marie Matson was vacationing with her family at Pacific Shores Resort at Nanoose Bay when her son, who was walking with his sister at the time, somehow fell over what “appeared to be a sidewalk” but was actually a four to six metre drop onto a concrete stairwell that led to a parking garage, according to a December 2017 civil claim filed in the Supreme Court of British Columbia in Vancouver by Matson against the RDN, Pacific Shores Enterprises Ltd., Pacific Shores Resort Centre Ltd., and Kerr Management Group Corporation.
Matson states that her son, whose age was not disclosed, suffered severe injuries including a skull fracture, concussion and subconjunctival hemorrhage as a result of the fall according to claim, which makes accusation of negligence and a failure to provide a duty of care to her son.
In her claim, Matson specifically accuses the regional district of failing to properly ensure a “proper” building code inspection occurred and that it failed to require the resort to install guard rails where her son fell.
Matson, who filed the claim on behalf of her son, is seeking an undisclosed amount of financial compensation, including health care recovery costs arguing that the fall has caused her son to experience pain, suffering and loss of enjoyment of life.
The regional district filed a response to Matson’s claim in January, denying any responsibility for the incident and denying that the incident even occurred. According to court documents obtained by the News Bulletin, while the RDN denies that the incident took place, it argues that if it did happen, it was because Matson’s son failed to pay attention to where he was walking, walked in an unsafe manner and should not have been “moving at a speed which he knew or ought to have known” was unsafe.
The RDN’s response states that it did not owe any duty of care to the Matson’s son and that their employees, servants or agents were not negligent and did not breach any duty of care. They also argue that if the area with Matson’s son fell was constructed with any deficiencies at the time inspections occurred, they were not “reasonably apparent” to a municipal building inspector.
A separate response filed by Pacific Shores Enterprises Ltd., owners of Pacific Shores Resort Centre Ltd., and obtained by the News Bulletin, also denies that Matson’s son even fell on the property. Pacific Shores’ response is similar to the regional district’s but goes one step further by arguing that even if Matson’s son did fall on their property, it was because he was walking in an area that was not intended to be used as a “walkway” or “play area” and that if he did sustain injuries, it wasn’t because of the fall but because of “previous” or “subsequent” accidents.
Kerr Management Group Corporation has not filed a response yet.
None of the allegations have been proven in court.