Saskatchewan

Sask. judge upholds jury's decision to award Regina woman $9M following diving accident

A Regina woman will receive more than $9 million in damages from the University of Regina more than a decade after a diving accident at the institution left her paralyzed.

University of Regina's appeal not successful

Outside of court, Biletski said it was difficult to hear testimony that quadriplegia would shorten her life by two decades. (Bonnie Allen/CBC)

A Regina woman will now receive more than $9 million in damages from the University of Regina more than a decade after a diving accident at the institution left her paralyzed.

On Dec. 21, Justice Ted Zarzeczny said the U of R did not establish a "strong enough" case to prove that the jury made the wrong decision in October when it deemed the university at fault for the accident and awarded the sum to the plaintiff, Miranda Biletski.

Biletski dove into a pool at the university during a Piranhas Swim Club practice in June 2005. The then-16-year-old hit the bottom and fractured her cervical vertebrae, leaving her a quadriplegic.

She filed the lawsuit against the university in 2007. On Oct. 21, 2017, about 10 years later, the jury deemed the U of R to be negligent and ruled Biletski and the Piranhas Swim Club were not at fault in the incident.

Lawyers for the university had asked that the decision be overturned, arguing that claims made by Biletski's lawyer and the lawyer for the Piranhas Swim Club played to the jury's sympathies and were inflammatory.

During closing arguments, Biletski's lawyer read a series of statements about her life expectancy, her lack of resources and her courage facing her injury, while the club's lawyer made similar remarks.

The money Biletski was awarded could not be paid out until the appeal process was complete.

A large part of the total funds will help her attain equipment that will assist her in daily life, including $250,000 for modifications to her residence and more than $500,000 for care items.

Biletski competed as a member of Canada's national wheelchair rugby team in the 2016 Rio Paralympics.