Family sues Utah ski resort over assault during Oktoberfest

Reuters News
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Posted: Sep 29, 2015 4:00 PM

By Peg McEntee

SALT LAKE CITY (Reuters) - A Utah family has filed a lawsuit against the Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort alleging that they were attacked and seriously injured by a group of drunken men during its 2014 annual Oktoberfest.

In the complaint filed in Utah's 3rd District Court on Monday, Brent Anderson, his wife Laura Anderson and her 23-year-old son, Thadius Grzeskiewicz, accused resort employees of doing nothing to protect them during the assault.

They also accuse the resort, in Little Cottonwood Canyon east of Salt Lake City, of not adequately controlling the sale of alcohol during the event.

The family had ridden a tram to the top of Hidden Peak with several other patrons, including the alleged assailants, says the lawsuit, which seeks an unspecified amount of damages for factors including personal injuries and medical expenses.

"Several of the intoxicated individuals began to viciously beat Mr. Anderson" as well as his wife and her son, it said. They also assaulted his wife and her son and she tried to intervene.

Brent Anderson suffered head and eye injuries in the beating, and his wife had an ankle injury that required surgery. Her son also had head injuries, the lawsuit said.

"Unbelievably, no Snowbird employee or security, either at the peak or on the tram, took any steps to protect out client from what was clearly a foreseeable danger given the heavy drinking that was going on," James McConkie, the family's attorney, said in a news release.

"Several passengers expressed their concern about the intoxicated individuals to the tram operator, who took no action in response," McConkie said.

In a statement, Snowbird President Bob Bonar said the fight was the first in the resort's 44-year history of Oktoberfest, and that the resort had never received an alcohol violation.

Bonar said the resort has its own public-safety department, and that officers from the Salt Lake Valley's Unified Police Department were on duty during the festival.

Three men, ages 22, 24 and 32, have been charged with three counts each of third-degree felony assault and misdemeanor counts of intoxication and disorderly conduct, police said. No trial dates have so far been set.

(Reporting by Peg McEntee; Editing by Daniel Wallis)