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Scope of lawsuit against Snowbird narrowed as judge dismisses plaintiffs’ claims

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Posted at 8:47 PM, Mar 14, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-15 00:16:53-04

SNOWBIRD, Utah -- A judge limited Snowbird Ski & Summer Resort's liability in a lawsuit filed by a family claiming they were attacked by patrons during the resort’s annual Oktoberfest event.

The lawsuit stems from an incident that occurred in September 2014 when Brent and Laura Anderson and Thadius Grzeskiewicz alleged they were assaulted by intoxicated individuals while riding a tram up to Hidden Peak.

The family filed a lawsuit against the resort last year.

On Monday, a judge ruled that the family cannot sue Snowbird for negligence because that claim is preempted by Utah’s Dram Shop Act, which already holds establishments like Snowbird liable if they over serve people who are already obviously intoxicated.

The plaintiffs filed a memorandum in opposition to dismiss the motion.

While this motion does not toss the lawsuit out, the plaintiffs still must prove Snowbird gave the intoxicated group too much alcohol.

The ruling also caps the amount of damages the family could collect to $2 million.

The lawsuit detailed the incident. The Utah family claims they were waiting to board the tram when a group of seven to nine people arrived with beers in hand.

According to the suit, the group smelled of alcohol and was swearing loudly. When the father asked the group to watch their language, a fight broke out when the tram reached the top.

Surveillance video at the top of Hidden Peak shows the aftermath of the alleged brawl.

Three of the men were charged with three counts each of third-degree felony assault, as well as misdemeanor counts of intoxication and disorderly conduct.