Aspen restaurant sues over power outage
Ryan Summerlin August 12, 2014
A family of Louisiana-based lawyers filed a class-action complaint Monday against the group it claims caused last week’s power outage in Aspen, resulting in thousands of dollars in lost revenue and wages for a local restaurant and its workers.
On behalf of Brunelleschi’s restaurant, bartender Wesley Beuter and waitress Katrina Buesch, lawyers Becket Becnel, who also works in Aspen, and Daniel Becnel filed the complaint against Edwards-based LKP Engineering Inc., the firm’s owner Luiza Petrovska, subcontractor Odell Drilling Inc., Aspen resident Patricia Gorman and her unnamed homeowners insurance. The complaint was filed in Pitkin County District Court.
On Aug. 4, LKP was taking soil samples with subcontractor Odell Drilling at Gorman’s 101 E. Hallam St. residence, where, according to city officials, the crew was working without proper permits. At approximately 11:30 a.m., the city received a phone call from LKP saying the crew had severed a main electric feeder line, causing widespread outages in the downtown core. Power was not fully restored until around 10 p.m., and affected businesses — many of which had to close that day and night — and individuals are claiming thousands of dollars in lost revenue and spoiled food and drink.
The Becnels argue that there could be 50 businesses and 500 individuals with lost profits and wages as a result of the power outage.
The complaint says Brunelleschi’s suffered a loss of as much as $20,000, while employees lost wages and tips when they were sent home that evening. The complaint alleges the defendants were negligent, among other claims. It also alleges that the amount of damages suffered by each member of the class is less than $75,000, and the cumulative damages of all members of the class are less than $5 million.
A message left for Petrovska was unreturned.
A statement from the Becnels says they have been approached by other claimants about potential legal remedies, but the Becnels “wanted to get this matter filed as soon as possible in hopes to expedite the litigation.”
The statement from the attorneys reads that “initial investigation has determined liability should be clear, and the insurance coverage should easily cover the amount of the entire monetary loss of Aspen businesses and claimants.” Additionally, the attorneys are working with an engineering expert from Denver to help prove liability.
Aspen law firm Allen, Wertz & Feldman is also considering legal action.
Attorney Alan Feldman said he has been in talks with a few business owners. He stressed that it’s very early on in the process, and it is uncertain what legal remedies they will pursue. Because none of the businesses has officially signed on, he did not name the potential clients.
“Several businesses lost some money, and how we go about working through that is yet to be determined,” Feldman said. “We’re pretty young in this, and I look forward to helping out these people. It’s on the to-do list.”