The legal snarl over the controversial Mud Immortal adventure race continues to grow even more tangly, as the Newfoundland and Labrador government has launched its own court proceeding seeking damages against event organizer Jonathan Brett.
Last fall, race participant Melissa Angel sued Brett, Mud Immortal Inc. and the government over injuries she says she suffered in the race, which was held in September at Butter Pot Provincial Park.
Her claims have yet to be tested in court, and Brett has denied any responsibility.
- Mud Immortal, N.L. government sued over injury at event
- Jonathan Brett denies claims in Mud Immortal lawsuit
In court filings, the province is shifting any blame to the race organizer.
“Should the province be found liable to the plaintiff for some or all of the plaintiff’s claim, then the province says that the plaintiff’s injury was caused or contributed to by [Brett and Mud Immortal’s] negligence in all aspects of the organization and operation of the race as well as the construction of obstacles for the race,” government court filings note.
The government is claiming damages, expenses, and costs from Brett and Mud Immortal Inc.
Brett’s lawyer filed a statement of defence in response, contending that the government is not entitled to “any relief whatsoever."
Lawsuit alleges ‘grievous bodily injuries’
Angel’s lawsuit alleges negligence and breach of contract resulting in “grievous bodily injuries” to her ankle and foot, resulting in “ongoing pain, suffering and distress.”
She says she was injured on the monkey bars obstacle, after falling “due to their unstable and unsafe construction.”
The ground below “was not cushioned with mud as advertised,” Angel’s lawsuit claims, but instead hard-packed gravel.
Roughly 5,000 people participated in the Mud Immortal adventure challenge on Sept. 21, 2013.
Social media exploded soon after the event, with complaints about organizational problems and safety issues.
Little due diligence, organizer in bankruptcy
In December, CBC Investigates revealed a lack of due diligence by the provincial government before officials agreed to the use of Butter Pot for the event — and a trail of financial troubles in Brett’s past.
- Province scrambled to address Mud Immortal fallout
- Mud Immortal organizer in personal bankruptcy during event
Brett was actually in personal bankruptcy the entire time he organized and promoted the Mud Immortal race, which generated up to hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenues.
Federal filings show that Brett faced more than $113,000 in unpaid debts while promoting the event.
He filed for bankruptcy in Calgary two years ago. Most of his debts are to people or businesses in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Now, CBC Investigates has uncovered new details on Brett’s bankruptcy proceedings.
At a recent hearing in an Alberta court, the application for the discharge of Brett’s bankruptcy was “adjourned indefinitely.”
The court found there is proof that Brett has failed to pay the trustee’s costs, failed to provide monthly income and expense statements since April 2012, and failed to supply the trustee with income tax information necessary to file pre- and post-bankruptcy income tax returns.
The court’s order clears the way for the trustee, Deloitte Restructuring, to close Brett’s file on their end.
It is also a step towards removing Brett’s bankruptcy protection, and allowing his creditors to pursue him through the courts.