Berry v. Greater Park City Co

In Berry v. Greater Park City Co., 2007 UT 87, 171 P.3d 442, a competitive skier brought a gross negligence claim against a ski resort for negligently designing and constructing a skiercross course. Id. The district court granted the ski resort's motion for summary judgment on the gross negligence claim because the plaintiff had "failed to present evidence sufficient to place in dispute the issue of whether the ski resort had designed and built the skiercross course with . . . gross negligence." Id. The Court concluded that the district court improperly granted summary judgment because the standard of care for designing and constructing skiercross courses was not "fixed by law," and "where a standard of care is not 'fixed by law,' the determination of the appropriate standard is a factual issue to be resolved by the finder of fact." Id. Without the applicable standard of care, it was impossible for the district court to determine the degree to which the ski resort's conduct deviated from the standard of care--"the core test in any claim of gross negligence." Id. Thus, the Court held that a district court cannot properly grant a motion for summary judgment regarding a gross negligence claim unless there is "an identified, applicable standard of care to ground the analysis." Id.