It is not the type of lawsuit you expect to arise from running a ski resort. But the Aspen Skiing Co. has been named in a lawsuit claiming that it kept a vicious dog that bit a woman at the Gondola Plaza. The plaintiff, an Aspen resident, filed her lawsuit Monday in Pitkin County District Court, with claims that she continues to receive treatment for medical issues connected to the dog bite, which happened Sept. 18th. She has had multiple surgeries to her hand and resulting staph infections because of the attack, the suit says. Her medical bills have exceeded $200,000, and she has suffered lost wages and other damages.
In addition to SkiCo, three who were guests of the Skico-owned Little Nell hotel at the time of the incident have also been named as defendants. The two adults, Parr and Sarofim, are well-known in New York’s social scene. Parr, a designer, has produced several motion pictures and owns an art gallery in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan. Sarofim, his girlfriend, is an actress and a film producer.
The plaintiff was walking in the Gondola Plaza, near the outdoor tables at Starbucks, when a black Labrador named Babu Sarofim “leapt up from its position and lunged directly” at her, biting her left hand. The dog was on a leash at the time, the suit says, because the dog was known to its purported owners — Parr and Sarofim — to become unruly and surly when it was off-leash.
Babu was with Parr’s daughter at the time, who remarked to Fischer after she was bitten that it was a “bad dog,” the suit says. Following the attack, the daughter returned with Babu to The Little Nell, where the pet had previously been under the care of the hotel’s dog-sitting services. The lawsuit claims that some hotel employees had known, before the alleged attack, that Babu had violent tendencies.
As such, “The Little Nell’s Guide to Petiquette,” a set of written policies governing pet care and behavior at the hotel, required that a problem dog such as Babu be removed from the premises or have a sitter with it at all times, the suit says. The Little Nell, however, failed to act on that policy, the suit alleges.
The complaint also alleges that there was an eyewitness to the biting — a woman named Suzanne who called 911 and The Little Nell to report the incident. Plaintiff’s counsel is anxious to locate this witness.
While Stuart Parr and Sarofim are believed to be co-owners of the dog, the custodial arrangement is not entirely clear. And of course, SkiCo could not comment about the suit.