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Gemmink v. Jay Peak Inc.

United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit

November 30, 2015

PAUL A. GEMMINK, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
JAY PEAK INC., Defendant-Appellee

Argued August 19, 2015.

Pro se plaintiff Paul Gemmink was injured while skiing at defendant Jay Peak's ski resort. Although Gemmink could not recall the circumstances of his injury, he came to believe that he had been injured in a collision with another skier as a result of Jay Peak's negligent maintenance of ski jumps on its property. As a result, Gemmink brought an action to recover against Jay Peak for his injuries. The District Court granted summary judgment to Jay Peak, finding that Gemmink had failed to establish that any negligence on the part of Jay Peak was the cause of Gemmink's injuries. We affirm the judgment of the District Court.

PAUL A. GEMMINK, Pro se.

THOMAS P. AICHER, Cleary Shahi & Aicher, P.C., Rutland, VT, for Defendant-Appellee.

Before: CALABRESI, STRAUB, POOLER, Circuit Judges. Judge POOLER joins only Parts I and II(B) of the opinion.

OPINION

Page 47

CALABRESI, Circuit Judge :

I. BACKGROUND

On February 21, 2011, Paul Gemmink and his daughter, Christine, visited the

Page 48

Jay Peak ski resort in Jay, Vermont. The two skied down the Northwest Passage trail, with Christine preceding her father as she turned onto the Kokomo trail, which intersected the Northwest Passage trail. When Christine reached the base of the ski lift at the end of the trail, she noticed that her father had failed to follow her descent. Instead, a Jay Peak ski patroller would find Gemmink " combative and in obvious pain," lying on his back by a tree on the left side of the Kokomo trail, near the Kokomo-Northwest Passage intersection. App'x at 31. Gemmink had been rendered unconscious and, though argumentative, could not recall or provide an account of the incident. Christine, however, had observed a ski jump situated near the trees on the right side of the intersection, leading her and her father to surmise that another patron " fl[ew] of[f] the jump" and collided with Gemmink. Id. at 30, 32. Gemmink suffered fractures to his left ribs and left transverse processes in the incident, injuries that, according to Gemmink, are usually attributable to a significant impact coming from right to left, and are therefore at least consistent with the theory that a skier jumped from the right of the intersection into Gemmink.

Proceeding pro se, Gemmink brought this action against Jay Peak to recover for injuries that he claims were sustained as a result of Jay Peak's negligence. Specifically, Gemmink asserts that Jay Peak negligently permitted dangerous jumps on its ski trails and that, in consequence of such a constructed jump at the Kokomo-Northwest Passage intersection, Gemmink suffered a collision with another skier resulting in harm to his left side. The District Court (Murtha, J. ) granted Jay Peak's motion for summary judgment, finding that Gemmink had failed to establish that Jay Peak's alleged negligence was the cause of his injuries. Gemmink now appeals.

II. DISCUSSION


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