On January 25, 2017

Killington requests new trial

By Stephen Seitz

KILLINGTON—Nadine Price’s ordeal may not be over yet. Though Price won a $750,000 personal injury verdict against Killington Resort as a result of her being trapped aboard a Killington gondola for several hours, Killington has asked Superior Court Judge Helen M. Toor for a new trial. In his request, Killington attorney Allan Keyes wrote, a new trial is warranted “on the grounds the jury disregarded the reasonable and substantial evidence and found against Defendant for a surprisingly high amount through passion, prejudice, or improper influence. Further, there was sufficient evidence of contributory negligence to reduce or bar the judgment against Defendant.” When asked to comment further, Killington attorney Andrew Maass said, “It’s my practice not to comment while it’s pending.” Price’s attorney, Christopher Larson, said he filed a response to the Killington request. “I’m confident in the strength of our argument,” he said. Killington claims that the verdict was excessive, that the evidence didn’t support it, and that Price herself was negligent.
The incident in question occurred on Oct. 1, 2011, when Price, an active outdoor athlete, had just finished hiking the mountain. At around 3 p.m., she decided to take a gondola back down. She did not know that, due to inclement weather, the gondola was going to be shut down. Price was trapped high above the ground, cold, unable to summon help, and wasn’t located until several hours later. Since then, according to testimony, her personality has changed considerably, and she suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder.  Larson said Killington’s request for a new trial was not justified. “The Defendant asks the Court to set aside the verdict and grant a new trial on two grounds: (1) because the amount of the verdict was ‘surprisingly high,’ and (2) because the jury was not instructed on comparative negligence,” Larson wrote. “Neither argument is availing, and the motion should therefore be denied.” Keyes wrote that the jury may have felt too strongly after learning that, as a result of incident, Killington revoked Price’s season pass. “The surprisingly high verdict may have been due to jurors’ overreaction to the fact Killington revoked plaintiff’s ski pass,” Keyes wrote.  “This post-incident otherwise extraneous information became a part of the case only because of the claims of interference with contract and defamation on which plaintiff did not prevail. Another ski area might have offered a free pass – perhaps a lifetime pass – for plaintiff’s trouble. Plaintiff’s counsel argued that revoking the pass was intentional, without justification, and an additional ‘insult,’” Keyes continued. Larson said there was nothing to support this argument.
“The court gave the jury detailed instructions on what grounds they could award damages under pain and suffering,” Larson wrote. “Absent additional evidence of prejudice or retaliatory motive, Defendant’s speculation should not overcome the well-established presumption that the jury adhered to the Court’s instructions and only awarded damages based on the criteria as instructed.” As of publication, no decision has been made whether to grant a new trial.

Do you want to submit feedback to the editor?

Send Us An Email!

Related Posts

New donut shop opening in Ludlow

June 5, 2024
The grand opening of New England Cider Donuts at 29 Main St. in Ludlow was recently celebrated with a ribbon cutting. The new shop will offer local coffee, breakfast sandwiches, assorted baked goods, in addition to delicious cider and specialty donuts. In the summer months it’ll also offer extravagant ice cream sundaes. 

United Way of Rutland County names new exc. director

May 22, 2024
The United Way of Rutland County (UWRC) announced the appointment of Tina Van Guilder as its new executive director, May 17.  Van Guilder officially assumed her role as executive director May 6. With over seven years of direct non-profit leadership experience in the Rutland County area, coupled with recent roles focusing on grant coordination, budget…

Three reasons I’m voting ‘Yes’ for the new school build

February 28, 2024
Dear Editor, As a full-time Killington resident, here are three reasons why I’m voting for the new school build. First, the time is now. As others have indicated in previous letters, seven years of school boards have been working on this project. Over the course of that time, volunteer school board members, community members, and…

Suspect arrested in shooting of 3 Palestinian American students

November 29, 2023
  By Alan J. Keays/VTDigger Burlington Police say they have arrested a suspect in the shooting Saturday night that wounded three young Palestinian American men. The three men, all 20 years old, were in Burlington visiting relatives of one of the men over the Thanksgiving holiday when the shooting took place around 6:30 p.m. Saturday…