Nearly $4 million at stake in Krabloonik federal trial | PostIndependent.com

Nearly $4 million at stake in Krabloonik federal trial

Rick Carroll
The Aspen Times

Two customers of Krabloonik will seek nearly $4 million from the dog-sledding outfit at a jury trial that’s set for May.

A final pretrial order, delivered by Senior District Judge Richard P. Matsch, lays out plaintiffs Harry and Melody Hardens’ negligence claims against the Snowmass business, blamed by the couple for a dog-sledding crash in January 2012.

The Charlotte, N.C., plaintiffs allege they were riding in a Krabloonik dog sled that crashed into a tree, resulting in them both being hospitalized with severe injuries.

They sued Krabloonik in March 2013 in the U.S. District Court of Denver.

At trial, they’ll be asking a jury to award them $425,000 in medical expenses, $1.5 million for pain, suffering, emotional distress and other injuries, and $2 million for permanent disfigurement, according to Matsch’s Feb. 6-dated order.

MacEachen’s law firm, Denver-based Overturf, McGath & Hull PC, declined comment Friday.

According to the judge’s summary of Krabloonik’s defense, the 35-year-old business contends that it “took reasonable care to avoid injury to its guests, including the Hardens. Trails were appropriately groomed, mushers were appropriately trained, appropriate equipment was utilized, and the operations were explained to the Hardens before the excursion.” The Hardens also signed a release before they went sledding, Krabloonik claims.

MacEachen recently sold his business to Danny and Gina Phillips, following years of public outcry about his treatment of the kennel’s dogs.

Both MacEachen and Danny Phillips are expected to testify in the trial on behalf of Krabloonik in the case, according to the judge’s order.

The Harden’s suit said the husband and wife suffered “severe injuries” to various parts of their musculoskeletal systems, which required extensive medical attention.

“The dog sled occupied by Plaintiffs overturned at a high rate of speed throwing Plaintiffs into trees and causing Plaintiffs severe, permanent and debilitating injuries,” the suit says.

MacEachen also is set to stand another trial in May, this one in Pitkin County Court, where he faces misdemeanor charges of animal cruelty.

While the cases are not related, Judge Matsch previously signed an order suppressing MacEachen’s deposition in the civil case because it could potentially influence the criminal trial.

“The misdemeanor criminal case has been the subject of media coverage in the Pitkin County area, and has received some statewide and national media coverage, as well,” MacEachen’s law firm argued in a motion to suppress the deposition. “Although the allegations in this case are largely unrelated to the issues in the criminal case, Krabloonik believes the media or other observers of the ongoing criminal case may seek to obtain copies of the depositions in this case.”

rcarroll@aspentimes.com


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