Who is the blind one?

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Who is the blind one?

Postby fingerboy » Fri Feb 10, 2012 11:13 am

http://www.ottawacitizen.com/health/Jog ... story.html

OTTAWA — Top Canadian paralympians Jon and Jason Dunkerley are facing a personal-injury lawsuit for crashing into another runner on a morning jog along the Rideau Canal in 2010.

The Dunkerley brothers, both born blind, are being sued for $350,000 in a statement of claim filed by jogger Mimi Lepage, who has had hip surgery since the crash on the morning of Jan. 24, 2010.

Her statement of claim says that she will need treatment and therapy for the rest of her life, citing tears of the hip, and injuries to an elbow and shoulder. None of the allegations have been proven in court.

The collision happened around 10 a.m. on Jan. 24, 2010 along the Rideau Canal jogging path in the Glebe between Patterson Creek and Fifth Avenue.

In documents filed in Ottawa court on Dec. 22, 2011, Lepage says she was running south on the west side of the Rideau Canal when the Dunkerley brothers, their guide runners, and others in their running group crashed into her from behind.

The claim says that after the collision the Dunkerleys fell on top of Lepage, injuring her so badly she had trouble walking and has been unable to tend to housekeeping, let alone run.

“The collision was caused by the negligence of the defendants, Jon and Jason, who, as elite runners and users of the public recreational path, owed a duty to other users of the path not to create a risk or harm to those users,” the statement of claim alleges.

The lawsuit against the blind runners also alleges they were “running at an unsafe speed given the circumstances, including their abilities, their method of communicating with their guides, the terrain of the path, the size of their running group, and the number of other users of the path at the time.”

The lawsuit also alleges that the running group attempted “to pass other users of the recreational path when it was unsafe to do so” and that the nine-member formation failed to share the popular jogging path.

Lepage’s statement of claim alleges that the blind runners “owed a duty of care to other users of the recreational path not to create a hazard or situation of danger that the other users cannot avoid.”

The claim also states that the running group failed to ‘take other evasive measures to avoid striking Ms. Lepage.’

Lepage also named her son, born in 2002, as a plaintiff in the claim. In that part of the claim she has cited “loss of care, guidance and companionship.”

Reached Thursday, Jon Dunkerley, 31, told the Citizen that he feels ‘horrible’ about what happened to Lepage but said it was an accident. He said he is seeking legal advice with the full intention of vigorously defending himself, as is his brother.

Dunkerley also said the fact that Lepage named the Ottawa Lions Track and Field Club Inc. as a defendant in the lawsuit is “ridiculous.” He says it was not a sanctioned training run, rather, as he put it, just a bunch of ‘running buddies.’

Dunkerley also questioned a detail contained in the lawsuit, specifically the claim that Lepage hasn’t been able to run since the January 2010 jogging crash.

“We Googled her name to see who she was and it showed that she ran a race in April 2010, so if she was hurt so bad that she said she’s been unable to run, why is her name listed for running a 10-k months later?” Dunkerley asked.

Read more: http://www.ottawacitizen.com/health/Jog ... z1lznle169


I think that adding her son to the plaintiff for loss of care, guidance and companionship is the worst part of it all. So if she's not running she has less time for her son? And she can't be a good example to him so she's suing others so she can't be be a good example to him?

Its an unfortunate incident (some group runners even with eyes can be idiots - as I've experienced a few times in Hamilton) but geez this is too far.

My other favourites are

1) Elite runners must have been running at unsafe speeds
2) She can't do housekeeping or running anymore since 2010.

I thought runners were strong. I doubt an elite runner is all that heavy. Runners step on my feet every so often and I don't break toes from it. It's not like she's 90.

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Re: Who is the blind one?

Postby MrBond » Fri Feb 10, 2012 11:17 am

What a crock of... you know. :?
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Re: Who is the blind one?

Postby turd ferguson » Fri Feb 10, 2012 11:39 am

If any of you was run over from behind by a pack of 9 runners and needed hip surgery, I'm pretty sure you wouldn't be quite as forgiving as you suggest she should be.
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Re: Who is the blind one?

Postby Jwolf » Fri Feb 10, 2012 11:52 am

turd ferguson wrote:If any of you was run over from behind by a pack of 9 runners and needed hip surgery, I'm pretty sure you wouldn't be quite as forgiving as you suggest she should be.


The surgery wasn't right after the crash, and she seems to be only suing the two blind runners.

There's way more to this story that we don't know (like when was the surgery, did she really run that race in April, did the injuries progress and now she's attributing them back to that accident, etc.).

I will reserve judgement until more is clear....
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Re: Who is the blind one?

Postby HCcD » Fri Feb 10, 2012 12:02 pm

From the Defendant(s), side of things .... http://sportsottawa.com/content/blind-lawsuit

Blind lawsuit
Created On: February 9, 2012

2008 Paralympic runner who is blind being sued for colliding with woman on canal pathway
By Anne Duggan

Running is an act of trust for Jon Dunkerley.

More than most of us who accept a certain amount of risk each time we step outside to run along Ottawa's pathways, the 2008 Paralympian is dependent on his guide and the actions of those around him.

“For someone who has been blind since birth, it is easy to trust,” explains the Canadian national team member who has Leber's congenital amaurosis, a rare inherited eye disease that appears at birth or in the first few months of life, and affects around 1 in 80,000 of the population.

But a recent lawsuit against Dunkerley questions whether he is right to train just as any able-bodied athlete might while using two equalizers: a tether and a human running guide. A tether is a cloth rope linking him to his guide.

On Jan. 24, 2010, a collision occurred involving Dunkerley, his guide Jamie Stevenson and another runner, Mimi Lepage, along the Rideau Canal between Patterson Creek and Fifth Ave. It was a typical, busy Sunday morning on the pathway, recalls Dunkerley, who was in a group of nine runners that day.

Running at a moderate pace, he and Stevenson were the last ones to attempt to pass Lepage, Dunkerley says.

“I had no idea what was about to happen. I was just running along – one minute I’m running and the next I’m running into a woman,” says Dunkerley, a competitor in the T11-class for runners who have no light perception in either eye and are unable to recognize the shape of a hand at any distance or direction.

Lepage was struck from behind “without warning” and knocked to the ground, with two larger runners then falling on top of her, court documents filed on Dec. 22, 2011 say.

“I understand that she was hurt and I feel bad,” Dunkerley says. “I was the one who hit her.”

Since Dunkerley is blind and because the rest of his group had already passed Lepage as they all traveled south along the canal, only his guide Stevenson saw what happened in the moments before the collision.

Stevenson was out of the country and unavailable for comment at the time of publication.

Lepage’s injuries as a result of the collision included soft tissue damage to the neck and shoulder, partial dislocation of her shoulder and labral tears of the right hip, says the statement of claim.

Lepage is suing for $300,000 for pain and suffering, plus a yet undetermined amount to cover lost income (including vacation and sick days), healthcare costs and other damages. She also claims $50,000 on behalf of her nine-year-old son for loss of care.
Dunkerley’s older brother Jason, a three-time Paralympic medalist, the Ottawa Lions Track-and-Field Club, and seven other unnamed individuals (including both guides) who were part of the group are also defendants in the lawsuit.

The statement of claim says the accident has had a long-term impact on Lepage, resulting in restricted physical activity, hip surgery, relentless appointments and a continued dependence on medication, while she “now has difficulty walking, sitting, sleeping, and has (been) unable to run or race since January 24, 2010.”

Race results on sportstats.ca indicate that a runner by the name of Mimi Lepage from Ottawa completed a 10-kilometre race on April 25, 2010 in under 54 minutes, but there are no results after that date.

Lepage declined the Ottawa Sportspage’s request for an interview on the record. ­
Her lawyer, Susanne Sviergula, explains there is only one accepted way for an injured party to gain compensation in our society and that is with a lawsuit.

“It is not a fair system for either side,” she says.

For a successful case, Lepage must “prove that (Dunkerley) has breached the standard of care of a reasonable runner,” says University of Ottawa law professor Louise Bélanger-Hardy. It is up to the court, she adds, to determine exactly what the standard of care is for a runner.

Standard of care for a blind runner, or his guide, “has not been fully explored in Canadian law,” Bélander-Hardy notes.

Plaintiff carries law background
Lepage holds a Master’s degree in law and is currently the executive director at the Information & Privacy Policy division at the Treasury Board of Canada, her lawyer confirms.

Living on the $1,500 per month income of a carded athlete and some earnings as a webmaster, Dunkerley is unable to pay for a lawyer himself beyond three hours of free legal help through Reach Canada – an organization that serves people with disabilities – and he feels overwhelmed and helpless.

Dunkerley’s legal aid has told him that because of his lack of house insurance, and therefore an ability to pay for a defence and any damages he may be
ordered to pay, it is likely the case will focus on his guide instead.

Dunkerley dreads the ordeal that his friend, along with his club and former running buddies, will now face.

“It's not something that is just going to go away,” says the fourth-place finisher from the 2011 world championships who believes that his guide did everything possible to avoid Lepage. “I feel really badly for Jamie who was doing me a favour and now he is being accused of negligence.”

At the time of the accident, Stevenson had been guiding the Dunkerley brothers for two years. A guide's training is led by the runner with visual impairments, Dunkerley explains, noting the more they run together, the better they figure it out. He adds that Stevenson was an especially good guide since he had lots of experience and was of similar size and stride.

Paralympics remains focus
Dunkerley says the lawsuit is frequently on his mind, but that it hasn’t affected his preparations towards qualifying for the 2012 Paralympic Games Aug. 29-Sept. 9 in London. With the goal of bettering his seventh-place finish from the 2008 Bejing Paralympics in the 400 m, it means that it is time to refocus, at least for his workouts.

“It bothers me a lot, I think about it a lot, but it’s not going to stop me from training – let’s put it that way,” says Dunkerley, who is coping with an ankle injury at the moment but maintains high goals for London. “It would be really nice to podium obviously, if I could.”
Race Results: http://itsmyrun.com/index.php?display=p ... unner=HCiD

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Re: Who is the blind one?

Postby turd ferguson » Fri Feb 10, 2012 12:07 pm

Jwolf wrote:
turd ferguson wrote:If any of you was run over from behind by a pack of 9 runners and needed hip surgery, I'm pretty sure you wouldn't be quite as forgiving as you suggest she should be.


The surgery wasn't right after the crash, and she seems to be only suing the two blind runners.

There's way more to this story that we don't know (like when was the surgery, did she really run that race in April, did the injuries progress and now she's attributing them back to that accident, etc.).

I will reserve judgement until more is clear....


Agreed. My point is that I hear this sort of moaning all the time when people talk about "frivolous" lawsuits and I usually say "put yourself in the plaintiff's shoes, what would you do? Suck it up? Double suck it up because the guy who ran you over is a paralympian?"
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Re: Who is the blind one?

Postby n_fraser » Fri Feb 10, 2012 1:46 pm

I've been a guide since last fall to a blind runner in Ottawa. Its been an amazing experience.

I encourage anyone looking in ways to volunteer in their city, to email Achilles Canada and try it for yourself.

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Re: Who is the blind one?

Postby Jo-Jo » Fri Feb 10, 2012 2:17 pm

fingerboy wrote:

I think that adding her son to the plaintiff for loss of care, guidance and companionship is the worst part of it all. So if she's not running she has less time for her son? And she can't be a good example to him so she's suing others so she can't be be a good example to him?



I suspect this is a standard clause in this type of lawsuit.
When my husband had to file a lawsuit against a driver who ran a redlight and crashed into him on Elgin Street in 1985 the lawsuit included a sum of money for the loss of care, guidance and companionship I suffered. My dh's comment to his lawyer..."I never realized how much guidance my wife needed until you pointed it out" :lol: :lol:
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Re: Who is the blind one?

Postby Cupcake Girl » Fri Feb 10, 2012 2:19 pm

Shouldn't the guide actually be the defendant? The blind runner, is well, obviously blind and following the guide, so to sue him for carelessness or whatever she's after, seems quite ridiculous.

The lawsuit is, whatever, I'll reserve judgement, for the most part. But as this story points out, not only is she suing for lost income, but also lost vacations? That's just pushing it.

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Re: Who is the blind one?

Postby fingerboy » Fri Feb 10, 2012 2:55 pm

I am sympathetic to injured parties but less so when it comes to "fibromyalgia" types of injuries (intangible pain and suffering).

Anyone who exists in our universe goes through pain and suffering. Its called being alive. It's amazing though how much less someone can take though when there's a plausible lawsuit.

I'm sure my opinion will offend many people here but its' how I was raised. Good or bad it's my opinion. If people can't "move forward" than what can you do for them?

There may be more to the story - I would like to know if the running group gave any sort of warning - as this is not clear. While they may be guilty, I'm just really lost on the amount of "suffering" in the story.

And from the April 2010 race - from the pictures linked to sportstats it looks like a 40-49 yr old woman running so it may as well be her. A 53min 10k is not a bad time for someone of that age, and esp if her pb was 46 about 12 years earlier.

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Re: Who is the blind one?

Postby n_fraser » Fri Feb 10, 2012 3:13 pm

fingerboy wrote:I am sympathetic to injured parties but less so when it comes to "fibromyalgia" types of injuries (intangible pain and suffering).

Anyone who exists in our universe goes through pain and suffering. Its called being alive. It's amazing though how much less someone can take though when there's a plausible lawsuit.

I'm sure my opinion will offend many people here but its' how I was raised. Good or bad it's my opinion. If people can't "move forward" than what can you do for them?

There may be more to the story - I would like to know if the running group gave any sort of warning - as this is not clear. While they may be guilty, I'm just really lost on the amount of "suffering" in the story.

And from the April 2010 race - from the pictures linked to sportstats it looks like a 40-49 yr old woman running so it may as well be her. A 53min 10k is not a bad time for someone of that age, and esp if her pb was 46 about 12 years earlier.


I have to agree with you. I am definitely biased from my experience as a guide runner, but if she's doing a 53 min 10k only a few months after the "accident", it seems bizarre to me. I will be paying close attention to where this goes.

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Re: Who is the blind one?

Postby turd ferguson » Fri Feb 10, 2012 3:23 pm

fingerboy wrote:I am sympathetic to injured parties but less so when it comes to "fibromyalgia" types of injuries (intangible pain and suffering).

Anyone who exists in our universe goes through pain and suffering. Its called being alive. It's amazing though how much less someone can take though when there's a plausible lawsuit.

I'm sure my opinion will offend many people here but its' how I was raised. Good or bad it's my opinion. If people can't "move forward" than what can you do for them?



I'm not offended, I just disagree.

I'm as "suck it up" as the next guy when it comes to pain and suffering, but if some guy actually harms me, I don't see why I shouldn't be compensated.

I was riding my bike, a guy hit me with his car. Clearly his fault. You're darn right I sued him, why shouldn't I?

I guess I see compensation as different than moving forward. You can be moving on with your life while still saying "you make this right" to whoever hurt you.
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Re: Who is the blind one?

Postby fingerboy » Fri Feb 10, 2012 3:56 pm

If someone hits you with a car go after them 100% (other than the occasional idiot pedestrians who walk in front of moving ones with their head in a bbm message or something). Generally the onus is on the faster one, but in all fairness some slower (pedestrians, other runners) can do things unpredictably like start moving sideways or suddenly stop.

To me its a matter of awareness. If you have the ability to be aware but were not than well I guess that is contributory negligence anyways. If you don't hear a group of runners nearby, you may be deaf. For all we know she may have been wearing earphones? I've never seen a group of 9 silent runners who all have perfectly soft foot strikes etc or don't talk/breathe. When I am on my group training intervals etc., for better or worse, you hear us.

As I said earlier - running in Hamilton - I got forced off the path once by an oncoming group, and a second time some woman body checked into me and broke my watch even though I had moved all the way to the side. I swore my mouth off at that person but I didn't go after to sue. I was body checked head on by the 200 lbs woman who was clearly not looking but sustained no major physical injuries.

Anyways, yeah let's see how much attention to her surroundings she was making.

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Who is the blind one?

Postby Jwolf » Fri Feb 10, 2012 4:09 pm

If you get hit by a car you normally don't have to sue but you get compensation through the car owners' insurance.
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Re: Who is the blind one?

Postby Jo-Jo » Fri Feb 10, 2012 5:56 pm

fingerboy wrote:I am sympathetic to injured parties but less so when it comes to "fibromyalgia" types of injuries (intangible pain and suffering).



Now that's a can of worms....
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Re: Who is the blind one?

Postby getfit » Fri Feb 10, 2012 6:04 pm

I'm curious, how would this woman know who to sue? If the same thing happened to me and I got knocked over by a group of runners, no doubt by the time I stood up they'd have said they were sorry and be long gone :think:
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Re: Who is the blind one?

Postby DougG » Fri Feb 10, 2012 6:21 pm

It seems she ran a 53 min 10 km not long after this 'mishap'? :shock:
So that's my problem, I need to have another runner knock me down! :lol:
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Re: Who is the blind one?

Postby Jo-Jo » Fri Feb 10, 2012 6:29 pm

DougG wrote:It seems she ran a 53 min 10 km not long after this 'mishap'? :shock:
So that's my problem, I need to have another runner knock me down! :lol:



Come to Kingston for the Wolfe Island Classic (I'm planning to run it this year) You can stay at the C-Moss B&B...and I could knock you over a few times before race time :lol: :lol: :wink:
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Re: Who is the blind one?

Postby Spirit Unleashed » Fri Feb 10, 2012 6:39 pm

Jo-Jo wrote:
DougG wrote:It seems she ran a 53 min 10 km not long after this 'mishap'? :shock:
So that's my problem, I need to have another runner knock me down! :lol:



Come to Kingston for the Wolfe Island Classic (I'm planning to run it this year) You can stay at the C-Moss B&B...and I could knock you over a few times before race time :lol: :lol: :wink:

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Who is the blind one?

Postby VeloCarrie » Fri Feb 10, 2012 7:03 pm

I don't know much about the whole situation, but a couple thoughts:

1: The Canal path is a multi-use path, filled with families, cyclists, etc., especially in this area. People should be respecting this fact and be running single file or taking up one lane when running. (the RR run groups should be teaching this since they never follow this). I have no idea if this was the case. The lanes are well marked with yellow paint.

2. This area specified in the article has sections of the path that are rather narrow and close to the road. Both parties should have been slowing down.

3. The runner was blind. The responsibility should have been to the guider, not to the Paralympic runner.

4. The fact that the runner ran a race a couple of months later might not have meant anything. How many people here have run a race with someone else's bib?

5. This whole thing sounds like an unfortunate accident. I feel for both parties. It's sad that it has come to this.
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Re: Who is the blind one?

Postby turd ferguson » Fri Feb 10, 2012 7:41 pm

Trail Child wrote:
3. The runner was blind. The responsibility should have been to the guider, not to the Paralympic runner.

4. The fact that the runner ran a race a couple of months later might not have meant anything. How many people here have run a race with someone else's bib?



3. I haven't thought this issue through, but if the runner ran her over, she has to sue the runner (not the guide). Successfully suing someone who didn't actually run into you is (off the top of my head) way more complicated. I'll ask my litigator wife.

4. Very good point.
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Re: Who is the blind one?

Postby jes » Fri Feb 10, 2012 7:47 pm

4. The fact that the runner ran a race a couple of months later might not have meant anything. How many people here have run a race with someone else's bib?


But wouldn't' it be interesting if there were evidence to prove this either way? I wonder where someone would go to look up such a picture of a runner in an Ottawa race? :shifty:
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Re: Who is the blind one?

Postby Jwolf » Fri Feb 10, 2012 7:49 pm

Someone's already looked up the picture, but that someone (look upthread) doesn't know what the woman looks like.

But let's say she did run the race herself. What if she thought the injury (from the accident in January) wasn't so bad at first, started running again after a short while after it healed, and then it was never "quite right." Ran the race in April, much slower than she's capable of, and then later with professional opinions figured out that her injury was more chronic and started back from the accident.

We don't know the full situation, and we can't be too quick to judge.

There are people on FB calling her a money-grubber and that this is "U.S.-style litigation." I say let's take a step back and see what happens.... It's not a perfect system, for sure. I feel bad that the media and the running community is making her into such a villain.
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Re: Who is the blind one?

Postby turd ferguson » Fri Feb 10, 2012 7:54 pm

Jwolf wrote:
But let's say she did run the race herself. What if she thought the injury wasn't so bad at first, started running again after a short while, and then it was never "quite right." Ran the race in April, much slower than she's capable of, and then later with professional opinions figured out that her injury was more chronic and started back from the accident.


It matters because it would be inconsistent with her claim that she hadn't run since the accident.
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Re: Who is the blind one?

Postby jes » Fri Feb 10, 2012 7:59 pm

Jwolf wrote:Someone's already looked up the picture, but that someone (look upthread) doesn't know what the woman looks like.



I wasn't referring to anyone here.
If it ain’t broke, run through it -- Strider


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