VR seeks fees in injured skier case
VAIL – Vail Resorts said it has spent more than $97,000 in attorney’s fees and costs in its legal defense against Julia Parsons, a skier who is suing the ski company after she collided with a protruding metal bracket while skiing across the Lionshead bridge in 2004.Vail Resorts has filed a counterclaim against Parsons, 45, alleging breach of contract and seeking legal costs.”They’re trying to make an example out of her,” said Joseph Bloch, Parsons’ attorney.A spokeswoman for Vail Resorts said the company doesn’t comment on pending litigation.Parsons slashed her knee on the metal bracket on the old Lionshead skier bridge, which was torn down and replaced with a wider bridge after the 2003-04 ski season.The company says Parsons agreed to waive her right to sue Vail Resorts for any injury sustained while skiing on the mountain when she signed a waiver to get her season pass. The company also cites the Colorado Ski Safety Act, which says skiers may not sue ski resorts for injuries from “any of the inherent dangers and risks of skiing,” including skiing out of control.But the act also says a ski area operator must mark “man-made structures on slopes and trails which are not readily visible to skiers from a distance of at least 100 feet” and must cover those structures with shock-absorbent material.The case could set a precedent for skiers who sign season-pass waivers that aim to protect ski resorts from being sued for injuries sustained on ski mountains.”(The waiver) says that if Vail Resorts or its employees are negligent or if they harm you, you cannot recover against Vail Resorts,” Bloch said.Bloch said his client has thought about dropping her case in exchange for Vail Resorts dropping its countersuit.”She’s definitely thought about it,” Bloch said. “She’s not wanting to do that.”Vail Resorts has spent $97,016.75 in attorney fees and costs in pursuing a defense, it said in a court filing Jan. 16.Parsons was seeking about $35,000 for medical costs and disfigurement when she first filed suit, Bloch said.The two sides met for court-ordered mediation in December, but were unsuccessful. The case is set to go to trial in March.Staff Writer Edward Stoner can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14623, or email@example.com.
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