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Lifetime Ski Passes at Killington Resort Die in Federal Court

Killington_welcome Twenty years ago, Killington, Vt., resident Martin Post and his wife, Jill, paid about $3,500 each for lifetime ski passes at Killington Resort. The Posts are happily still alive but, as of May 17, 2010, their passes are not.

The Times Argus reports that in May, U.S. Judge Christina Reiss found that the resort's current owners, SP Land Co. and Powdr Corp., which purchased Killington Resort in 2007, were under no legal obligation to honor the passes that were sold in the early years of the ski area as an incentive to attract investors.

The class action litigation before Judge Reiss involved 1,243 pass holders -- 342 yearly transferable passes and 901 passes that could be transferred a single time. The plaintiffs alleged that under the wording of the investor passes, the holder is entitled "to the free use of all ski lifts operated by (Sherburne) Killington Ltd. at (Killington Basin) Killington Ski Area so long as the corporation shall operate in that area under an agreement with the state of Vermont." Plaintiffs claimed that the reference to "the corporation" meant any subsequent operator of the ski area, including the new owners, but the court disagreed.

Judge Reiss granted the defendants' motion for summary judgment, finding that "the only reasonable interpretation of that language is that it requires Killington Ltd. to provide the designated passholder free use of all ski lifts operated by Killington Ltd. at the Killington Ski Area so long as it operates in that area ... "The term corporation, she wrote, "clearly refers to the named corporations, Sherburne and Killington Ltd." and "reveals no intention to bind Killington Ltd's successors ... To the contrary, Killington Ltd.'s obligations under the passes clearly terminate with its cessation of operations in the area."

The plaintiffs have appealed Reiss' decision to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Posted by Bruce Carton on July 6, 2010 at 10:10 AM | Permalink | Comments (4)

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