VANCOUVER — A trampoline park has denied wrongdoing in a Victoria man's death, saying he failed to follow warning signs and instructions and may have been impaired by alcohol or drugs.
It comes as Technical Safety BC, the provincial regulator of amusement devices, calls on the provincial government to ensure oversight of such parks due to the potential public safety risk.
Jason (Jay) Greenwood's wife Tanya Hayes and his three young stepchildren are named as plaintiffs in a lawsuit against Extreme Air Park Inc. filed last summer in B.C. Supreme Court.
The statement of claim says the 46-year-old man visited an Extreme Air Park in Richmond in January 2018 with two of the children and died after he jumped in a somersault-like motion into a foam pit.
Extreme Air Park has filed its response to the civil claim and it denies any negligence, breach of duty of care or failure to warn, and says if the incident occurred as alleged, Greenwood caused or contributed to it.
None of the allegations have been proven in court and the park says notices about using the facility at one's own risk are posted throughout the location.
Its response says employees gave Greenwood an oral warning and instructions and he signed a release acknowledging the dangers he faced.
It says Greenwood failed to take care for his safety, failed to use the trampoline and foam pit in a proper manner and used the facility when he was impaired by fatigue, alcohol or drugs.
"The alleged incident occurred when Mr. Greenwood, with full knowledge of the characteristics and features of the facility and premises, misused the facility and the premises," the statement says.
The lawsuit filed by Greenwood's wife alleges the Richmond facility failed to supervise him, did not provide him with any safety instructions or prevent him from participating in activities that were outside of his physical abilities.
It also alleges the park failed to warn Greenwood of the dangers of diving into the foam pit head first or to ensure the pit was wide or deep enough and had enough foam.
Extreme Air says that under the terms and conditions of its signed release, it owed no duty of care to the plaintiffs and they're precluded from recovering any damages from the park.
Alternatively, it suggests that Greenwood's death was caused by "previous or subsequent incidents" or by "congenital defects or pre-existing conditions or injuries."
The response is filed by the company, several locations, an employee known as John Doe and the owner of the Richmond property. The property owner has also filed a separate response in which it says it's not involved in the business or operations of the park.
Technical Safety BC says since Greenwood's death and other serious injuries at various trampoline parks, it is recommending to the government that the parks be included under its scope.
"Our team works hard on behalf of all British Columbians to provide government with impartial advice on how to enhance the safety system and ensure these very unfortunate and tragic events are prevented," says President and CEO Catherine Roome in a news release.
"As technologies change and new devices come onto the market, safety regulation needs to thoughtfully adapt to reduce hazards and make the public safer."
The organization says it consulted with more than 400 members of the public, health professionals, experts, owners, operators and patrons of trampoline parks before reaching its recommendation. It will submit final recommendations to the province on broader regulatory changes by the end of the year.
Selina Robinson, municipal affairs minister, says in the release that she appreciates Technical Safety BC's comprehensive review.
"We want families to feel secure knowing that a fun family activity is also safe, and that's why government agrees with this recommendation. I welcome Technical Safety BC's forthcoming regulatory framework that will better protect people in British Columbia."
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