Legal Precedent at Heart of Conlin v. Vail

by Law Week Contributor

BY: Jim Chalat
CHALAT LAW

The wrongful death verdict in favor of Vail Resorts was a victory for the ski industry. The jury concluded that Vail Resorts was not negligent in the Jan. 22, 2012, death of 13-year-old Taft Conlin. Vail owes the family no dam-ages and the plaintiffs can now expect a bill of costs from Vail Resorts, which would bankrupt any family.

The long and hard-fought case is also a testament to the grit and determination of the Ingalls-Conlin plaintiffs and their stalwart lawyers. No pain is greater than that of the loss of a child. No case is more difficult than a long-drawn-out battle against a billion-dollar multi-national corporation.

However, for the skiing public, the legal precedent in the case is not in the jury’s verdict. It is that the case was heard and determined by a jury as a finder of fact, rather than dismissed by the judge on a critical point of law.

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