The court has decided that a jury will decide on the liability of the training agency PADI in the death of the teenager.
A jury will decide on the liability of training agency PADI in the case of Linnea Mills’ fatal accident. The teenage girl died during dive training at Glacier National Park in November 2020. Missoula County District Judge Leslie Halligan delivered the verdict.
Judge Halligan thus rejected PADI’s claim that it should not be included as a defendant in Mills’ death. The teen’s relatives filed a lawsuit before the court. In it, they named PADI and the Gull Dive Center of Missoula and its instructors as guilty of negligence in the fatal diving accident suffered by Linnea Mills.
Instructors Debbie Snow and Seth Liston claimed to be PADI certified. Unfortunately, a combination of inappropriate diving equipment and poor instructor supervision led to tragedy. Linnea Mills found herself in a situation where she was unable to surface. The instructor was unaware of the whole situation, in turn another student’s attempt to rescue the teenager failed. As a result, the victim sank to the bottom of Lake MacDonald at a depth of around 40m and drowned.
According to information reported in the local press, the lawsuit contains three allegations against PADI. In at least one of them, the plaintiff has named PADI responsible for the death of teenager Linnea Mills.
In April 2022, PADI’s attorney submitted a motion denying the agency’s liability. Defendants also asked the court to exclude PADI as a defendant from the trial. They argued the whole case on the grounds that the Gull Dive instructors are not agents, nor are they employed by PADI. Therefore, the agency is not liable for the accident. In support of this, the solicitor attached the contract forms with the stipulations that Mills had initialled when signing up for the training.
Judge Halligan decided that the evidence submitted was not sufficient to absolve PADI of liability. She also noted that PADI had some control over Gull Dive and its instructors by virtue of the contracts signed and also pointed out that the instructors were required to follow PADI standards and instructions.
PADI is in the background of much of how and why a PADI dive centre operates. Whether this creates an apparent agency relationship is a disputed question of fact to be determined in the process of – Judge Halligan wrote.
Cognitive errors is undoubtedly another very interesting and important text by Andrzej Górnicki on safety in diving. You will find it in the 19th issue of our the DIVERS24 quarterly magazine! The digital version of the magazine is available free of charge, while the printed version you can purchase in our online shop.
The Divers24 portal is currently the largest online medium treating diving in Poland. Since 2010 we have been providing interesting and important information from Poland and around the world on all forms of diving and related activities.
Contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org