Vail Resorts prevails in appeal of Taft Conlin case |

Vail Resorts prevails in appeal of Taft Conlin case

The Colorado Court of appeals announced Thursday that a panel had affirmed the dismissal of a wrongful death and negligence suit brought against Vail Resorts regarding the death of 13-year-old Taft Conlin.

Conlin was skiing in a closed section of terrain on Vail Mountain on Sunday, Jan. 22, 2012, when he was caught and killed in an avalanche.

His parents, Dr. Louise Ingalls and Dr. Steve Conlin, filed their suit, Ingalls et al. v. The Vail Corporation, in 2012, alleging that because their son entered the closed area from an open area and hiked into the closed terrain, the ski company was negligent in their failure to notify the public that by closing the upper gate, it also intended to close that part of the run between the two gates.

In 2018, a jury ruled in favor of Vail Mountain.

Conlin’s parents appealed. Their attorney, Jim Heckbert, said District Court Judge Fred Gannett erred by allowing evidence during the trial that they say was misleading, inadmissible or irrelevant; improperly excluding other evidence; and denying a request for a different judge.

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Heckbert was unable to be reached for comment.

Court costs

The decision could provide Vail Resorts a new avenue in recovering its costs to defend the case, which the company said, in a filing, was approximately $1 million.

Of that, Vail Resorts says its recoverable costs totals $173,295.63. In a civil lawsuit, the losing party often pays a portion of the prevailing party’s costs.

“Our filing is simply a preservation of our rights as the prevailing party to seek reasonable court costs,” Vail Resorts said in a statement in 2018, when the effort to recover the costs was filed.

The opinion came from Judge Richman, the Colorado Court of Appeals No. 18CA1471; City and County of Broomfield District Court No. 12CV175; Eagle County District Court No. 15CV15; Honorable Chris Melonakis, Judge; Honorable Frederick W. Gannett.

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