David Irland, 23, was taking a ski class at Walla Walla College when he suffered a spinal cord injury during a snowboarding accident, rendering him paraplegic. He was taken by Life Flight to Portland, and while there, a dean from the college came to his hospital room. One of David’s classmates overheard the dean as he tried to get David to admit that the college was not at fault, and that David was the only person who could possibly be at fault for his injuries.
We brought suit against the college for the dean’s outrageous conduct, and were able to use that claim to require both the college and the ski operator to defend the case in Portland, rather than in eastern Washington.
After years of suffering, David died as a result of his injuries, and his parents maintained the case on behalf of his estate.
David had signed a release when he completed paperwork for the ski class. We managed to persuade the court to find the release invalid, despite the fact that the case was bound by Washington law, which has a heavy presumption in favor of such a release. These rulings forced the settlement of the case.
On the anniversary of David’s death, his mother published a remembrance on The Oregonian obituary page in which she thanked Kafoury & McDougal for obtaining justice for her son.