A woman who suffered a spinal injury as a teen received a multi-million-dollar award in a case revisiting the decades-old debate about starting blocks and water depth.
It also serves as a wake-up call to those who own aging facilities, reminding them that grandfather clauses might not hold up in court.
In October, jurors held the University of Regina, in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan, negligent in a diving accident that rendered Miranda Biletski paraplegic. She was 16 at the time and an aspiring Olympic swimmer. She trained with the Regina Piranhas Swim Club, which rented the pool from the university. In 2005, Biletski was practicing her diving starts when she struck her head on the bottom of the pool, fracturing her C6 vertebrae.
Biletski alleged that the school was at fault, claiming there wasn’t enough water in the pool and that it didn’t meet code.
Attempts to settle out of court failed, and Biletski became too consumed with a new passion — wheelchair rugby — to pursue damages through civil court until well into adulthood. (A Paralympian, Biletski was the first woman on Canada’s wheechair rugby team during the 2016 Summer Olympics.)
The trial finally began in September. The jury heard testimonies about how shallow is tooshallow.