Hate those costly lift tickets? Thank the trial lawyers for | SierraSun.com

Hate those costly lift tickets? Thank the trial lawyers for

Prentiss Davis

I’ve written in the past about what I believe the litigation explosion is doing to our country. The so-called “health care crises” is pretty much the inevitable result of an unholy alliance between America’s trial lawyers and the Democratic Party. After the Democrat trial lawyers have bled the health system dry, the Democrat politicians will give us a national health care system. If you think health care is expensive now, just wait and see what it costs us when it’s free. The enormous financial support given Democratic elected officials by the legal profession has rendered meaningful tort reform impossible. Just to name a few examples, the consumer products industry, the airline industry and even our own ski industry are all under assault causing these and virtually all the goods and services we buy to be far more expensive than they would be otherwise.I’ve been told that the hefty difference between the lift ticket prices we pay at our local ski areas and the much lower prices at world-class European ski resorts are mostly due to higher liability insurance costs in America – the result of our litigation. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting several local attorneys who describe themselves as “ski-area litigators.” Where are the vigilantes we once had around here? If someone would run these bloodsuckers out of town we may see $30 lift tickets again. Seriously, I fear that we may find many things we take for granted today unavailable in the near future. Think of the businesses that close for no other reason than an inability to secure insurance at a reasonable rate.During a recent vacation in Iceland, my wife, Helen, spent a very enjoyable day riding an Icelandic horse. After we returned to Truckee I decided to treat her to a horseback ride for her birthday.In the 1970s and ’80s, I was involved with a group of friends in Southern California who regularly rode horses. Usually, we would just get together on a Sunday morning and rent a bunch of horses. We normally rented from stables near Newport Beach, in Laguna Canyon or in Valencia. Our group included riders of various abilities – I probably being the least skilled – and we invariably wound up with a variety of horses from mild to wild. But we always had fun and no one ever got hurt, although I do recall riders including myself coming out of the saddle a couple of times.My first attempt to rent a horse locally was at Tahoe Donner Equestrian Center, where I was told that there was no unsupervised riding. Next I checked out the stables in Olympic Valley near Squaw – same story there. A search of the Yellow Pages came up empty. Then I asked a number of people that I know who ride, and they could think of no one who rents horses for unsupervised rides. Everyone cited liability concerns. As recently as about 10 years ago I rented a couple of horses in British Columbia (another hot bed of litigation) and from a private party in Montana. Does this mean that the era of renting a horse has gone the way of the old west? Apparently it passed without notice. I can’t recall reading about a horse insurance crises or a wave of liability suits against stables. I know you can still rent cars, boats, airplanes, and all sorts of dangerous power tools and equipment. God only knows what the owners pay for liability insurance.So if any readers know where an old guy and his wife can rent a couple of not-too-spirited horses for a couple of hours we would love for you to tell us. We promise to wear helmets and use common sense.Hopefully, the old horseback ride hasn’t gone the way of the swimming pool slide and the diving board. Younger readers are advised to ask their parents about the pool slide and the diving board, both of which were once upon a time found at every motel swimming pool in America. Thank you, trial lawyers.Prentiss Davis is a Truckee resident.