Lawsuit involving American hunter killed in B.C. to proceed

Jeffrey Cooper was hunting in northern B.C. when he was shot by a guide

  • Nov. 8, 2017 1:30 a.m.

The widow of an American hunter who was shot and killed near Burns Lake has been given the go-ahead to pursue a lawsuit against B.C. outfitter Wistaria Guiding.

Jeffrey Cooper, 59, from Washington State, was participating in a guided grizzly bear hunt on May 26, 2014 when he was accidentally shot and killed by a guide during the course of the hunt.

The guided hunt was provided by Gary and Julie Blackwell, doing business as Wistaria Guiding, in the Tahtsa Reach Forest Service area.

READ MORE: Hunting tragedy

Crown counsel concluded in 2015 that no charges would be approved in relation to this accident.

Shirley Cooper, Jeffrey’s widow, has since filed a lawsuit alleging that Wistaria Guiding is liable in negligence for the death of her husband.

According to court documents released Monday, the lawsuit is centred around a liability release agreement that was signed by Jeffrey in 2013, that Wistaria Guiding argued should apply to his visit a year later, when the accident that took place.

Since Jeffrey did not kill a bear during the 2013 hunt, Wistaria Guiding made an offer for him to return the following spring, free of charge, to try again.

The liability release agreement signed in 2013 states that Jeffrey acknowledged that the hunting trip “involves risks and dangers which are inherent to hunting and wilderness travel,” including to hazards of carrying and being in possession of firearms and ammunition and being in areas where hunters are likely to be present.

“I further accept and assume all risks of personal injury or death or loss or damage to property while participating in the said guided excursion, including negligence of Gary Blackwell and their employees, agents and associates,” reads the agreement signed by Jeffrey on July 28, 2013.

Wistaria Guiding argued that since the 2014 had the same purpose, the same risk and did not involve any additional charges, it was therefore a continuation of the 2013 hunt.

However, the Supreme Court of British Columbia determined that the agreement signed in 2013 applied only to the guided hunt that occurred that September, stating that Wistaria Guiding’s intent of providing Jeffery a no-fee hunt in 2014 is not “admissible evidence.”

“Since the wording of that agreement refers only to the excursion which had been contracted for by the parties at the time of the document’s execution, I find that, properly interpreted, it has no application to the fatal accident that occurred some eight and a half months following completion of the September 2013 hunt,” stated Justice Kent in a court document detailing the reasons for judgment.


 

@flavio_nienow
newsroom@ldnews.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Council Briefs: Cunningham puts “resident rate” for transportation on table

Councillor Adey concerned over RCMP’s lack of communication with public

Skeena-Bulkley Valley once again goes NDP

Smithers mayor Taylor Bachrach set to follow in Nathan Cullen’s footsteps

Security guard bitten, punched by patient at Terrace hospital

Violent incident one of many in Northwest B.C., nurses union says

Charles Hays boys are kings of the Northwest cross country zones

Prince Rupert’s team, and six individuals, qualify for provincials in Abbotsford

Trudeau has won the most seats — but not a majority. What happens next?

Trudeau will have to deal with some of the implications of Monday’s result

Play-by-play: Bachrach new MP for Skeena-Bulkley Valley, all 219 polls reported

Bachrach beats Conservative candidate Claire Rattée by more than 3,000

Estheticians can’t be forced to wax male genitals, B.C. tribunal rules

Langley transgender woman Jessica Yaniv was ordered to pay three salon owners $2,000 each

Two youth arrested in UBC carjacking at gunpoint, after being spotted in stolen Kia

‘A great deal of credit is due the alert person who called us,’ said North Vancouver Sgt. Peter DeVries

People’s Party of Canada’s anti-immigration views ‘didn’t resonate’ with voters: prof

Party was formed on anti-immigration, climate denying views in 2018

Investor alert: ‘Split games’ pyramid scheme circulating in B.C.

British Columbia Securities Commission issues warning about scheme selling virtual shares

Federal NDP may support B.C. with major projects, Carole James says

SkyTrain Surrey extension, Massey Tunnel need Ottawa’s help

‘Issue-by-issue parliament’: Expert says Liberals need to placate NDP to be effective

Scandals, social issues, racism defined 2019 federal election, SFU prof says

Misconduct investigations spike by 65% across B.C.’s municipal police forces: report

Reports overall up 15 per cent while complaints made by public down seven per cent

‘Wexit’ talk percolates day after Liberals returned to power with minority

An online petition is calling for a western alliance and Alberta to separate

Most Read