After Keystone Resort collision, Ohio doctor files $300k personal injury lawsuit against Texan man |

After Keystone Resort collision, Ohio doctor files $300k personal injury lawsuit against Texan man

Freshly groomed trails and fresh powder-capped mountains in the distance as seen from Keystone Resort on Dec. 22, 2017.
Mallory Van Zyl / Special to The Daily |

An Ohio doctor has filed a $300,000 lawsuit against a Texan man for injuries sustained after a collision at Keystone Resort back in 2016.

Dr. James T. Lutz of Cincinnati, Ohio, filed the complaint in Denver District Court on Thursday, March 1, seeking damages from Nathan Johnson of Ector, Texas, for negligence. Lutz’s wife, Julia Lutz, also filed a claim for “loss of consortium,” which refers to a loss of companionship resulting from the injuries.

The complaint claims Johnson crashed into Lutz from behind while the two were skiing on the Frenchman run at Keystone. Johnson is accused of negligence for colliding with Lutz “from uphill, behind, and at a high rate of speed.”

Lutz’s attorney, John H. Phillips of the Cincinnati-based Phillips Law Firm, said Johnson was “not a very good skier” and careless when he essentially “rear-ended” his client.

“Skiers do not sign up to get knocked down from behind by other skiers.”John H. PhillipsAttorney for Filer

Citing Colorado law, the complaint alleges that Johnson was solely responsible for the incident.

“Johnson,” the complaint said, “had sole responsibility to know the range of his own ability, the duty to maintain control of his speed and course at all times, to maintain a proper lookout so as to be able to avoid other skiers, to avoid collision with persons skiing below him, to heed all posted information and other warnings and to refrain from acting in a manner which may cause or contribute to cause the injury of others.”

Phillips pushes back against any notion that collisions of the sort that caused his client’s injuries are an inherent risk of skiing.

“I understand the argument that accidents are an inherent risk on the mountain, but this incident is not part of that risk,” Phillips said. “Skiers do not sign up to get knocked down from behind by other skiers.”

The complaint goes on to claim that Lutz underwent two surgeries for serious injuries from the collision, including a torn ACL, torn medial meniscus, torn lateral meniscus and micro fractures of the tibia.

Phillips said that his client has 8 percent whole body impairment due to the incident. “My client will never fully recover from his injuries,” he said.

Phillips added that his client does not hold any ill will toward Johnson, and the lawsuit was filed as a formality due to the impending expiration of the statute of limitations on Saturday, March 3. The collision occurred on March 3, 2016, and Colorado state law requires personal injury lawsuits be filed within two years of an injury.

“This is one of those cases where it’s hard to get angry at this kid because it was an accident,” Phillips said. “But it was an accident that, under Colorado law, provides liability.”

Phillips added that he hoped the lawsuit would be resolved amicably, and that filing the complaint was a mere formality.

“I’d like to think this won’t be one of those acrimonious, ‘everybody’s pounding on their chest’ kind of cases,” Phillips said. “But sometimes you have to file a lawsuit because you have an obligation to file it and protect your client.”

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