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Family says negligence led to son's injuries on Deer Valley ski trip

Published August 1, 2013 5:13 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

A New York couple alleges in a federal civil lawsuit that a Deer Valley Resort ski instructor inappropriately took their 9-year-old son on the Little Stick cat track in February, which was too icy and difficult for the boy to handle. The child fell off the side of the track, which was not bounded by a barrier, and slid several feet before striking a tree, according to the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court for Utah. Another skier had slid off the same track prior to their son's accident, the boy's parents allege.

The family contends that the resort had a duty to mark known hazards and warn skiers of dangerous conditions and to ensure that skiers did not go on runs that were beyond their ability. The boy experienced unnecessary pain and suffering and now has physical scars from the accident, according to the lawsuit, which asks for general and special damages.

In other court and crime news:

A discrimination lawsuit filed by a former Washington County library director has been moved from state court to federal court. Britton Lund alleges that shortly after she was hired in 2009 a county administrator began making "unwelcome religious statements" and "unwanted gender-based comments." Lund alleges she was fired after complaining about the treatment. In May, a county commissioner denied the allegations in the state lawsuit, but declined to provide any details about why Lund was fired in May 2012.

• The Utah Board of Pardons and Parole has set a parole rehearing date of September 2015 for David Serbeck. The Bluffdale man, paralyzed in a neighborhood watch shooting in July 2009, was sentenced last year to up to 10 years in prison for having a sexual relationship with an underage neighbor.

• A federal judge in Utah sentenced Michael Lawrence O'Donnell, 63, to a year and a day in prison after the Pleasant Grove resident admitted he bought prescription drugs in Europe and then distributed them to health care professionals around the U.S. O'Donnell admitted in a plea agreement that between October 2005 and March 2007 he engaged in wholesale distribution of Botox, Zometa, Gemzar and Aranesp, but was not licensed by the state of Utah to do so. Orders were placed through two online pharmacy sites.

• The Utah Court of Appeals reversed a lower court's denial of a request by Brendt Thomas Bennett for more time to appeal dismissal of his petition for extraordinary relief and sent the case back for further proceedings. Bennett was convicted in August 2000 of one count of rape of a child and was paroled to a community correctional center in 2007 after successfully completely a sex offender treatment program. However, the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole revoked Bennett's parole after he refused to answer a parole officer's questions about uncharged offenses he may have committed. He was returned to prison in 2008 and later filed a petition alleging he was wrongfully and unconstitutionally being restrained.

A trial court granted the state's summary judgment motion and dismissed Bennett's claim in 2011, but the state failed to provide Bennett with a copy of the court order as required by Utah Rules of Civil Procedure. After waiting more than a month to receive a copy of the order, Bennett learned it had been issued and time for filing an appeal had passed. He then asked the court for an extension of time to file his appeal, but the judge denied his request.

The appeals court directed the trial judge to make a "reassessment" of Bennett's motion and then fully explain the decision.

• The Utah Board of Pardons and Parole has decided that Joseph Allen Nance will wait six years before getting an original hearing. In April, Nance pleaded guilty to manslaughter and obstruction of justice for fatally shooting his father in 2011 at a Kaysville motel. Nance told police he shot his father in self defense after witnessing a domestic dispute between his parents, who were divorced but were staying together at the motel. He was sentenced in May to two one-to-15 year terms; the judge ordered that the terms run consecutively.