Vail Daily column: Tinder is a microcosm of the law |

Vail Daily column: Tinder is a microcosm of the law

I went on a Tinder date recently. More accurately, I was the third wheel on a Tinder date. I don't want you to get the wrong idea: my wife, Lauren, is the only woman for me. For those not familiar, Tinder is a dating app designed to remove a common impediment to finding a mate: initial uncertainty as to whether one's advances will be well-received. It is based on the concept of mutuality. As you scroll through users in the set geographical area, you make a notation in the app if you think someone is cute. If he or she feels the same about you, then Tinder alerts both to the potential match. It is then up to the matched persons to message via the app and decide whether an in-person meeting is warranted and/or prudent. Fans of Tinder are legion and growing, as are its critics, who cite its perceived superficiality and other drawbacks. I make no value judgment about Tinder, but, as relevant to this column, I wonder how this new dating paradigm may reflect or affect use and expectations of the legal system. BRAVE NEW WORLD Walking into the bar with my friend and watching him introduce himself to a woman known previously only through a small picture on his phone and a few brief messages, I felt like the unfrozen caveman lawyer awaking to a new world. Because they each knew that the other had an initial attraction and interest, they confidently launched into conversation. On the one hand, I was impressed by the direct nature of the transaction. The word transaction is not intended to be pejorative but might indicate my instinctual response to what I was witnessing. There was no hiding of intentions: my friend was in town for a few days and there was no pretense of anything more than a passing fling. On the other hand, I lamented the lack of inherent risk. It takes real verve to approach a stranger across a bar. Applying these initial observations to the process of litigation, I was mostly encouraged. So much of the difficulty in resolving disputes is in the breaking of facades, in the playing of games. The Tinder generation does not appear to believe much in circumlocution and is not afraid to put their goals right on the table. REMOVING INITIAL RISK If Tinder's removal of the initial fear of failure can be extrapolated to other areas, then it may be that the Tinder generation will become more risk-adverse. That being the case, I would expect to see more negotiated resolutions of disputes rather than wagers on a positive outcome at trial. Certainly, there is the possibility that Tinder actually encourages more risk-taking, in which case the analysis would change in kind. Tinder's ability to remove the initial risk component is not completely favorable in a legal context. The possibility of failure is important to remind litigants that actions may have dire consequences. Moreover, when the dispute calls for full engagement at trial, it is critical that both the attorney and the client are comfortable with taking risks, strategic and otherwise. If one is not prepared to fail, then attaining true success may be impossible. ENTER THE ROOMMATE As the night progressed, so did my fascination. It being a small town, it so happened that my friend had also had promising Tinder interactions with the initial woman's roommate. This fact was known both to the initial woman and to her roommate, who showed up at dinner. I was bewildered, but none of the Tinder triumvirate seemed fazed. While Tinder removed an initial barrier to entry, it also allowed its users to be fickle and catered to the narcissistic impulse to keep all possible options open. In a conflict resolution setting, perfect outcomes are exceedingly rare. I was concerned that Tinder promoted the idea that one can always get what one wants. It is a dangerous outlook both in life and in the law. That said, if Tinder encourages people to not settle for the easy way out and instead inspires attempts to craft an ideal solution, I have no quarrel with that. However, this is counterbalanced by my suspicion that Tinder allows people to forget that the arduous path is often required. The instant gratification that underlies the success of Tinder also sets a perilous precedent for expecting the legal system to give immediate results, when it does quite the opposite. As for the resolution of the evening, it would be ungentlemanly to disclose the denouement. T.J. Voboril is a partner at Reynolds, Kalamaya & Voboril LLC, a local law firm, and the owner and mediator at Voice Of Reason Dispute Resolution. For more information, contact Voboril at 970-306-6456, or visit

Cab passengers skip on downvalley fare

DOTSERO, Colorado –A taxi driver picked up a couple of guys who were seeking a ride to Dotsero, outside a bar at Edwards. He warned them that the minimum cost of the ride would be $100. They indicated they would pay. However, once at Doterso, the passengers instructed the driver to pull off on a dirt road behind the mobile home park, and to turn off his vehicle lights. He refused, and presented them with the $113 bill. One man attempted to pay with a credit card, which was declined. The other fellow offered him $55.70. When advised that amount was not enough, the passenger argued that it was a “matter of principle.” Then both passengers jumped out of the taxi and ran off. The driver called the cops. The cops quickly apprehended the suspects, who were both charged with theft. Miscellaneous mischief • On Aug. 27, an Eagle County Sheriff’s deputy contacted Eagle Police to turn in several items he found scattered around a driveway located at The Bluffs subdivision. The items included a purse with a wallet inside, a computer bag with a Mac Book Pro inside and a grocery bag with various food items inside. About an hour after the items were turned in, the residence’s owner called police to report a theft. The woman was able to pick up her missing items from the police station.

Vail Daily letter: Just takes a spark

Today, as my personal Earth Day initiative, I decided to clean up a short distance of the road in front of my house while walking to get the morning Vail Daily. I was stunned to pick up 17 bottles and cans, and 56 cigarette butts. Each cigarette butt was lying in tinder dry grass and leaves, and I fear this is a fire disaster waiting to happen. Please, through your pages spread the word that no cigarette should ever be thrown out of a car window or tamped out outside. The recent article about a window box fire igniting in the wee hours of the morning in Aspen should bring this home to everyone. No planters or window boxes should be used, either. Pam Timmins Edwards

No charges filed after Eagle shoving match

EAGLE, Colorado –Police were called to a local bar at 2 a.m. Nov. 10 on a report of a fight in progress. When officers arrived, they spotted a man and woman pushing one another. The man reported that when he walked out of the bar, he saw two men fighting. He said that he and his brother attempted to break up the brawl. His brother collaborated the story. The woman was the wife of one of the brawlers, according to the police report. Officers then spoke to one of the men involved in the initial fight. He confirmed the altercation had happened, but said he didn’t know what started the fight. He said he did not want to press charges. The second man involved appeared to be heavily intoxicated. He was uncooperative with police and would not answer any questions. Because none of the individuals involved would give a written statement, no citations were issued in connection with the incident.

Sidewalk parking in Eagle lands man in detox

EAGLE, Colorado ” A cop on routine patrol on Jan. 29 noticed a black pickup parked on the sidewalk in front of the Brush Creek Saloon in Eagle,Colorado. Pedestrians were forced to maneuver around the vehicle. The officer went inside the bar, seeking the owner of the vehicle so it could be moved. The waitress pointed out a very intoxicated man who had recently arrived. The suspect was uncooperative, and so drunk that he had difficulty standing. The man initially claimed that a buddy of his had driven the car up on the sidewalk, then had left. He could not understand why the truck being on the sidewalk was a problem. Eventually, the suspect, who was foul-mouthed and aggressive, gave the cops his wife’s phone number, suggesting that she be contacted to move the truck. However, the wife, who lived in Leadville, was not about to come to Eagle to move the truck. She also said she did not want to deal with a drunk husband, and asked that the cops take him to a detox facility. The suspect was cited for improper parking, then taken into protective custody and sent to detox. A woman who parked her car on Sylvan Lake Road for a couple of hours while having dinner came back to find an egg splattered on the windshield. In fact, the incident marked the fourth time her vehicle had been egged when parked at that spot. She called the cops. The responding officers, recognized similarities to a case they had handled a week earlier which involved nearby residents who were dishing out some vigilante-style justice by throwing eggs on cars parked in private parking spaces. They contacted the man involved in that case. The suspect insisted that he had stopped egging cars since his previous talk with the cops. Rather, he said, he was dealing with people parking in unauthorized places by simply “flipping them off.” The woman was advised not to park her vehicle in places designated for Founders Avenue residents. The suspect was advised to talk with his Home Owners Association about parking issues. A woman rode her bike to the Post Office, went inside, then returned only to find it had been pulled out of the rack, thrown down on the ground, scuffed and damaged. Interestingly, a post office employee was looking out the window when he saw a blond man remove the bike from the rack and throw it to the ground. He got the man’s license plate number before the suspect drove off. The cops are following up on this case. A report of a domestic violence incident led police to a home where a woman with a bruised cheek and large bump on her head was being comforted by a friend. The hurt woman said she and her husband had been drinking with friends at a local bar. He became angry after losing a game of pool, and left the bar. She stayed. The husband then called her repeatedly on the phone, leaving verbally abusive messages. When the woman walked home, she found the doors had been locked. She banged on the doors and windows, and eventually the husband opened the door. The woman decided to sleep on the couch. Her husband grabbed her, and banged her head against a nearby counter, according to the victim. Under the pretext of going outside for a cigarette, she slipped away, ad summoned help from a friend. The husband denied any involvement in a physical alteration. However, after observing the woman’s injuries, the cops charged him with domestic violence and assault.

Former deputy gets jail after guilty plea

EAGLE — A former Eagle County sheriff's deputy will serve a stretch in the jail where he used to put criminals. Timothy Joseph Hay, 42, was sentenced to 180 days in jail — 90 days straight and the rest work release — after he pleaded guilty to a pair of misdemeanors, trespassing and misdemeanor assault. Hay struck the plea deal with prosecutors after initially being charged with sexually assaulting an Eagle County woman. The case was turned over to prosecutors from Colorado's 9th Judicial District after it was transferred from local prosecutors in the 5th Judicial District. As part of the plea deal, Hay will also have to register as a sex offender. According to testimony in his preliminary hearing, Hay was so drunk or drugged that he had to be helped from an Eagle bar by two women, one of whom later accused him of raping her. That woman could have driven Hay to his home, less than a mile from the bar in Eagle, but she drove the second woman home to Gypsum, then drove Hay and herself back to a warehouse office halfway between Eagle and Gypsum along U.S. Highway 6. That office floor is where the incident occurred. Hay had previously pleaded not guilty, before accepting the misdemeanor plea deal. Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and

Eagle Cops

Right though the roundabout A driver exiting Interstate 70 at Eagle April 7 was spotted speeding up the off ramp before plowing through the newly constructed roundabout and colliding with another vehicle traveling on the western side of the traffic circle. When the Eagle Police officer arrived on the scene around 6:15 p.m., he found an SUV with extensive front end damage and pickup truck with significant damage to the driver's side door. The truck driver said he had come off the I-70 westbound exit when the other car barreled up the ramp, drove over the roundabout curb and struck him. The truck driver was complaining about a possible head injury and said he could smell alcohol on the other driver. The officer called an ambulance crew to the scene. A road construction worker in the area witnessed the accident and backed up the truck driver's account. Additionally, the witness said the driver of the SUV initially acted as though she planned to leave the area, but then drove onto the curb instead. When he spoke to the SUV driver, the officer reported the woman said she "may have been traveling too fast" when she came off the exit ramp. She did not report any injuries. While speaking with her, the officer reported a strong smell of alcohol emanating from the vehicle. He also reported the woman had bloodshot, watery eyes and slightly slurred speech. When asked if she had been drinking, the woman said she had consumed one beer, approximately five hours earlier. She agreed to perform roadside maneuvers. After she failed the roadside tests, the officer placed her under arrest for driving while impaired. The woman elected to take a blood test and was taken to Vail Valley Medical Center. When the officer returned with her to Eagle around 8:15 p.m. the woman agreed to answer additional questions. She said she had consumed two, 12-ounce beers between noon and 3 p.m. with her lunch. She said the alcohol may have had a "slight" effect on her driving and roadside tests. She was ticked for DUI and careless driving. Not welcome Eagle Police were called to a local bar when a banned patron started causing problems. When the officer arrived, he learned the suspect had fled the scene by skateboard, headed toward U.S. Highway 6. The officer couldn't locate the man, but other patrons provided his name so the officer proceeded to his address. At the residence, the suspect's father stated he was not home and he did not know his son's whereabouts. Back at the bar, the officer spoke with the bartender who said the man showed up earlier that evening and wanted to sing karaoke. He was told he was not allowed inside, so he left the building but proceeded to cause problems with patrons as they exited the bar. One of the patrons hit the man with her purse after he shoved her and began to push some of her friends. She noted she had never seen the man before. Later during the officer's shift he heard a report that an Eagle County Sheriff's deputy had spotted the man at a local convenience store. The officer arrived on the scene and found the man was visibly intoxicated and also smelled of marijuana. The man said he was skating by the bar when he began talking to a girl and smoking a cigarette. He said her boyfriend then joined the conversation but all of the sudden the girl "attacked him." The man agreed to blow on a Preliminary Breath Testing Device, and his breath alcohol count was .074, which the officer noted was inconsistent with his level of intoxication. The man then admitted that he also smoked five joints during a five-hour period. The officer told the man he was prohibited from entering the bar and placed him in custody for disorderly conduct. He was taken to the Eagle County jail for a protective hold. The officer explained to the man that if he returned to the bar, he would be arrested for trespassing. Not for rent A local homeowner contacted Eagle Police after receiving a call from a woman who said she was interested in renting her home. The homeowner said her homes is for sale, but she had not advertised it for rent. The officer contacted the other woman, who said she found the rent listing on Craig's List and had been in contact with another person regarding the house. The man who placed the rental ad would not allow the woman inside the residence and she became suspicious when she drove to the address and saw the house was for sale. The woman noted she had not signed any paperwork or exchanged any money with the man who listed the house for rent. She forwarded her email correspondence regarding the listing to the police. In the email exchange, the man claimed he was renting the house because he planned to go to Malaysia for three to four years. The officer noted the correspondence was an obvious scam. The homeowner's real estate agent took measures to have the false ad removed from Craig's List.

Shackles could be limited on Colo. inmates giving birth

DENVER – Colorado lawmakers are considering limiting the use of shackles on female inmates during childbirth. The state Senate gave initial approval to the legislation Tuesday. Republicans backed it even though Democrats refused to include language stating that the limits would also help the babies of inmates. Guards will sometimes handcuff one arm of a state inmate to the bed during labor depending on her escape history and security level. Prison officials say that in rare instances, women will also be handcuffed to the bed during delivery. The bill would only allow such restraints to be used if officials think the woman poses an immediate threat to medical staff. It would bar the use of leg shackles and waist restraints during delivery.

Eagle police blotter: Broadway breakup

Editor’s note: The following excerpts were taken from Eagle County law enforcement officers and police reports. EAGLE, Colorado – An Eagle Police officer patrolling around downtown Eagle earlier this month became concerned when he spotted a woman crying hysterically and clutching her stomach as she walked down the street. The incident occurred Aug. 5 around 7:30 p.m. The officer pulled his car alongside the woman to speak to her, but she told him she did not need help. Noting that she was walking unsteadily and appeared to be intoxicated, the officer then told the woman he still needed to speak with her. The officer also noted a man standing in the middle of the sidewalk, in the direction the woman was walking away from, watching the interaction. When the woman began speaking with the officer, the man started screaming at her, telling her not to speak to the cops. He began rapidly walking to the area where the officer and the woman were talking. The officer turned and told the man to stop immediately, but he continued to move toward them, finally stopping about 6 feet away. Concerned that the man might become violent, the officer told him to stand back. A sheriff’s deputy then arrived on the scene to offer assistance. The officer asked the man for his identification and he refused to present it. At that point the officer told the man to place his hands behind his back because he was under arrest. While he initially refused to comply, the man eventually consented and was handcuffed and placed inside the officer’s police car. With the man restrained, the officer tried to interview the woman. She said there had been no physical confrontation but that she was upset because the man was breaking off his relationship with her so he could return to his “baby mama.” She said she was upset and that was why she was crying. The officer asked the woman if she had been drinking with the man before the incident occurred. She initially denied that they were, but the owner of a nearby bar confirmed the couple had been drinking at his establishment earlier and the man had been cut off when he became intoxicated. A check of the man’s record revealed that he had an active restraining order prohibiting him from consuming or possessing alcohol. The man was arrested for violation of his restraining order. Unwelcome visitor EAGLE – Eagle Police were called to the Visitor Information Center at Chambers Park recently on a hit and run report. Upon examination of the site, police reported that a semi truck driver apparently attempted to turn around in an area where such action is prohibited. Police noted fresh tire tracks in the mud in the area. Several large boulders had been moved several feet and turf was damaged in the area. Additionally, there was possible damage to the park irrigation system. Damage is estimated at $1,500. There are no leads or suspects in the case.

New skier prefers hurdle to limbo

Last spring, I was assigned to teach a group of beginning skiers. The class was made up of a burly dockworker, a couple of secretaries, a schoolteacher and one 7-foot 3-inch college basketball player.After spending the morning on basic maneuvers, most of the students were still extremely stiff on their skis. To help them “loosen up”, I thought about trying a little drill I had read about in one of my professional skiing journals.I jabbed two ski poles into the snow about shoulder-width apart, with a third pole supported horizontally through the safety straps; like a limbo bar. I instructed all of the students to ski up to the bar, bend their knees and waist and pass under it.One by one, each of the students skied under the ski pole. When it came time for the basketball player’s turn, he asked, “So how do you want me to do this?”Thinking that he wanted advice on how to accommodate his height, I just said, “Any way you can.”The basketball star slowly skied up to the ski poles, crouched down and then jumped over the bar; skis, boots, poles and all.- Dave Yost, VailSex and the cable bindingOne day during the early 1960s, I was skiing with a friend at Aspen Mountain. These were the days of obscenely long skis, soft leather boots and clunky cable bindings that protruded from the back of your heels.At the top of the practice area, a young man precariously made his way down the hill, on the verge of destruction. After a series of linked recoveries, he skied into the backside of a woman, becoming permanently attached to her by their intertwined bindings.The initial force of the collision bent the woman over at the waist, while he stood over her with his hands on her back. As they sped their way down the bunny slope, they went through a series of convoluted contortions lurching forward then back, in a last ditch effort to regain their balance.Observing the melee from the chairlift above, an entertained skier yelled down at the duo, “Hey, why don’t you guys get a hotel room!”- Jinny Loeffler, VailVail, Colorado