Nfld. & Labrador

Mud Immortal, N.L. government sued over injury at event

A woman who says she was injured during the Mud Immortal adventure race is suing the organizer and the Newfoundland and Labrador government for damages.

Participant claims ‘grievous bodily injuries’ in fall from monkey bars during adventure race

A portion of the Mud Immortal website is pictured in this screen grab from the Internet. (CBC)

A woman who says she was injured during the Mud Immortal adventure race is suing the organizer and the Newfoundland and Labrador government for damages.

Lawyers for race participant Melissa Angel filed a statement of claim at Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court in November.

The lawsuit alleges negligence and breach of contract resulting in “grievous bodily injuries” to the plaintiff’s ankle and foot, resulting in “ongoing pain, suffering and distress.”

None of the claims have been proven in court.

Mud Immortal Inc., event organizer Jonathan Brett, and the provincial government had yet to file a statement of defence as of Tuesday afternoon.

Mud Immortal race participants were required to sign a waiver of liability in case of injury.

More than 5,000 participants

More than 5,000 racers participated in Mud Immortal at Butter Pot Provincial Park in late September. The five-kilometre “adventure challenge” featured obstacles throughout the course.

Social media exploded after the race with complaints about organizational chaos and safety.

The government, which permitted Mud Immortal to use the provincial park free of charge, expressed concern in the wake of the event.

Brett issued a press release two days after Mud Immortal apologizing for issues at the race, while noting that some of the problems were beyond the control of race organizers. 

Angel’s lawsuit was filed by the St. John’s firm Roebothan McKay and Marshall.

Another St. John’s lawyer, Bob Buckingham, has indicated that he is pondering possible legal action related to Mud Immortal.

Brett has been unavailable for interviews since the race was held in September, and did not return CBC Investigates requests for comment.

The provincial Department of Environment and Conservation, the government body named as a defendant, declined comment.

Injured in fall from 'unsafe' monkey bars

In her lawsuit, Angel says she fell from the monkey bars after losing her grip “due to their unstable and unsafe construction.”

She says she fell to the ground “which was not cushioned with mud as advertised,” but instead hard-packed gravel.

Within 15 minutes of her injury, the lawsuit alleges, the monkey bars obstacle was closed due to the number of injuries sustained by participants there.

Angel claims in her court filings that she remained on the ground at the site for about an hour before being treated by ambulance attendants.

She alleges that there were no first-aid officers or first-aid materials at the race or the park, despite advertisements to the contrary.

Angel’s lawsuit contends that she continues to incur medical expenses as a result of the incident, and has suffered “loss of income and pain, suffering and loss of amenities of life.”

Her allegations are untested in court.

Angel’s lawyer did not respond to a CBC Investigates request for comment.

Scramble to address post-race concerns

As CBC Investigates reported on Tuesday, the province scrambled to address the fallout of the Mud Immortal race in the days following the controversial event, as officials dealt with the lack of formal protocols for such uses of provincial parks.
The Mud Immortal challenge was held on Sept. 21 in Butter Pot Park. (CBC)

On Sept. 22, the day after the race was held, the manager of Butter Pot Provincial Park wrote an e-mail outlining the problems.

Those included “a number of injuries and broken bones during the race,” volunteers who didn’t show, and companies and suppliers who also did not arrive at the site.

The next day, Sept. 23, the deputy minister of Environment and Conservation stressed the need for protocols in the future for events held in provincial parks.

The pre-race paper trail between Mud Immortal and government officials actually ended more than five months before the event, according to records obtained through access-to-information by CBC Investigates.


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