Lawsuit involving American hunter killed near Burns Lake to proceed

Lawsuit involving American hunter killed near Burns Lake to proceed

Jeffrey Cooper was bear hunting when he was shot by a guide

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 Nov. 6, 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

Workers had a busy time today repairing a broken main water line. (District of Houston photo)
Water service being restored

Main line on 13th had broken

Flags at the District of Houston administrative building were lowered last week following the news that the remains of as many as 215 children were found buried on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School. The flags were raised back up yesterday. (Houston Today photo)
Flags lowered in memory

Flags at the District of Houston administrative building were lowered last week… Continue reading

Bruce Tang- Unsplash photo
World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

“Older adults in our communities continue to find themselves in vulnerable situations… Continue reading

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Police cars are seen parked outside Vancouver Police Department headquarters on Saturday, January 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver police officer charged with assault during an arrest in 2019

The service has released no other details about the allegations

Denmark’s Christian Eriksen receives medical attention after collapsing during the Euro 2020 soccer championship group B match between Denmark and Finland at Parken stadium in Copenhagen, Saturday, June 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, Pool)
Christian Eriksen in stable condition, Euro 2020 match resumes

Eriksen was given chest compressions after collapsing on the field during a European Championship

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps off Vancouver Island

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

As stories of the horrors of residential schools circulate after the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation announced it had located what are believed to be the remains of 215 children, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said he feels a connection with the former students. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
2 sides of the same coin: Ex-foster kids identify with residential school survivors

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip says the child welfare system takes Indigenous children from their families

Nathan Watts, a member of the Tseshaht First Nation near Port Alberni, shares his story of substance use, a perspective he said isn’t seen enough. (Photo courtesy of Nathan Watts)
Public shaming, hate perpetuates further substance use: UVic researcher

Longtime addict Nathan Watts offers a user’s perspective on substance use

Most Read