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

Thirty fire starts in one day in northwest B.C.

None of the fires are posing threats to communities

Lightning strikes cause fires in area

Maxan Lake fire around 90ha in size

‘Daddy bonus’ common in B.C. workplaces, study finds

UBC researchers say dads don’t have to be number one in the office to get a raise

Better dangerous goods response wanted

Regional district directors to consider resolution tomorrow

115 new wildfires burning across B.C. due to 19,000 lightning strikes

More fires expected to start today, says BC Wildfire Service officials

B.C. BMX kid wows GoPro with homemade video

Eight-year-old Rex Johnson wins award for inventive video

Vancouver Canucks tab Quinn Hughes with No. 7 overall pick in NHL draft

University of Michigan standout was second defenceman picked in first round

Gun, drugs and cash seized in arrest of alleged B.C. fentanyl dealer

Vancouver Island man Brent Connors is facing nine charges in relation to investigation

Jogger spent two weeks in U.S. detention centre after accidentally crossing B.C. border

Cedella Roman, 19, crossed the border while out for a run

PHOTOS: Police rescue baby seal found on rocky B.C. shoreline

Marina Mammal Rescue Centre recommends residents observe from a distance

B.C. woman with severely disabled son keeps getting parking tickets

‘There has to be something they could do’

‘Creep off’ reporting system aims to track street harassment in Metro Vancouver

Text-based hotline launches to collect public reports on where and when harassment occurs

10 feet from home: B.C. grassfire offers stark reminder how quickly blazes burn

Kamloops woman among first people in B.C. to be told to evacuate home this wildfire season

Happy ending for orphaned bear cubs

Two orphaned bear cubs were captured in Castlegar and sent for rehabilitation.

Most Read