Wrongful death trial moved to Eagle County | SummitDaily.com

Wrongful death trial moved to Eagle County

Randy Wyrick
rwyrick@vaildaily.com

Taft's Tree was dedicated to Taft Conlin, who was 13 when he died in an inbounds avalanche on Vail Mountain. Conlin and some friends were skiing Prima Cornice. The wrongful death trial will move from Broomfield to Eagle County. No trial date has been set.

EAGLE — Vail Resort's request was granted when a judge moved a wrongful death trial to Eagle County.

Judge C. Scott Crabtree granted the ski company's request to move the wrongful death trial stemming from Taft Conlin's death from Broomfield County to Eagle County. Local District Court Judge Fred Gannett will handle the case.

Taft Conlin died Jan. 22, 2012, in an avalanche on Prima Cornice on the front side of Vail Mountain.

The ski company claims the run was closed. In their wrongful death lawsuit, Conlin's parents — local veterinarians Dr. Louise Ingalls and Dr. Steve Conlin — claim that if the ski company wanted to close any part of the run where their son was killed, all the entrances should have been closed.

While Prima Cornice's upper gate was closed, the lower gate was open. Not following the closure requirements violates Colorado's Skier Safety Act, said family attorney Jim Heckbert.

In requesting that the trial be moved, Vail Resorts' attorney Rob Blume said the case is tied largely to the site on Vail Mountain where the tragedy happened.

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In making his ruling, Judge Scott pointed out that the primary evidence, Vail Mountain terrain, is "immovable."

The trail will involve site visits, among other things, he wrote.

"(That is) the only way for the fact-finder to fairly and accurately assess the routes, traverses, trail markings, lines of sight, relative distances, cliffs and other permanent natural obstacles. Equally important is the fact that nearly all of the witnesses with knowledge of the disputed facts are located in Eagle County," he wrote.

He addressed the inconvenience for witnesses to travel more than 100 miles to Broomfield County rather than the Eagle County Justice Center, 30 miles from Vail.

No trial date has been set.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or rwyrick@vaildaily.com.

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