Aspen Times settles dispute out of court
December 25, 2003
The Aspen Times and its parent company have settled out of court with a woman who filed a lawsuit against the newspaper for negligence and outrageous conduct.
The amount of the settlement is being kept confidential as part of the agreement, according to Aspen Times attorney Tom Kelley.
Former Snowmass Village town planner Carolyn Poissant filed her lawsuit on Dec. 8. Poissant spoke to a Times reporter in October under condition of anonymity, expressing serious concerns over the proposed Base Village project in Snowmass Village.
Poissant alleged that “back-room negotiations” were taking place between the Aspen Skiing Co. and Intrawest, the project’s developers. Although the newspaper promised to keep her identity a secret, she was identified as a town planner in Snowmass Village, and her gender was revealed.
At the time, Poissant was the only woman working as a Snowmass town planner. She was placed on unpaid administrative leave on the day the article appeared and was fired a week later on Oct. 15.
Kelley said the Times’ parent company, Colorado Mountain News Media, Poissant and her attorney agreed to release this statement in response to any inquiries about the settlement:
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“Carolyn Poissant and Colorado Mountain News Media have resolved and amicably settled the dispute between them over an article published in The Aspen Times, in which the newspaper mistakenly referred to Ms. Poissant in a manner that caused her employer to identify her as the source of the article and terminate her employment. Both parties are satisfied with the resolution of the case.”
Kelley said the agreement was reached on Friday, but would not comment further. Poissant and her attorney could not be reached for further comment.
The lawsuit listed numerous claims for relief, including breach of contract, outrageous conduct and negligence. Poissant claimed that the Times’ conduct was “outrageous, willful and wanton, and in reckless disregard of [her] rights and feelings.”
She claimed that she suffered loss of wages and benefits, emotional distress, humiliation and embarrassment as a result of the article and her subsequent firing.
Colorado Mountain News Media also owns the Vail Daily.