Attorney asks for more time in Sunlight Mountain Resort lawsuit |

Attorney asks for more time in Sunlight Mountain Resort lawsuit

Pete Fowler
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” An attorney handling an elderly New Jersey dentist’s legal claims against Sunlight Mountain Resort is asking for court deadlines to be pushed back.

James Heckbert, Roger Weiner’s attorney, submitted a motion to extend an April deadline for expert witness reports and other deadlines Monday for at least 90 days. In December, he was granted a similar motion.

Heckbert argues Weiner’s orthopedic surgeon needs to conduct more testing before he’s able to offer an opinion on Weiner’s future prognosis, Heckbert’s motion says. In December, Heckbert said in a court document that Sunlight didn’t get enough snow soon enough in the winter for a lift liability expert to observe the lift operate with passengers and render an opinion to meet a court deadline.

Heckbert said both sides were prepared to go forward but the delays were caused by reasons beyond their control. He said in a court document that nearly 1,300 pages of deposition testimony have been obtained from 10 witnesses.

Weiner, of Hackensack, N.J., claims he was boarding a lift at Sunlight on March 11, 2008, when “he was knocked to the ground by a chair” due to employee negligence, according to his complaint filed in U.S. District Court. Weiner claims the accident caused injuries including a fracture of the neck of his left femur.

In response to Weiner’s claims, Sunlight’s attorney denied that any lift accident Weiner was involved in was due to employee negligence. Sunlight called Weiner’s claims “frivolous and groundless” and raised defenses including that Weiner’s legal claims are barred by the Ski Safety Act. The act says skiers assume the risk of injury from inherent dangers of skiing and must “have the physical dexterity and knowledge to safely load, ride and unload the lifts.”

The Denver-based personal injury law firm Chalat Hatten and Koupal says on its website, “Over 90 percent of all lift cases arise while the skier is either loading or unloading and are a consequence of either skier error or improper (lift) operation rather than a design defect. The liability question is generally settled after balancing the operator’s duty to exercise the highest degree of care against the passenger’s duty to pay attention, have the requisite skills to board the lift, and to heed all posted information and instructions.”

Contact Pete Fowler: 384-9121

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