‘Gonzo’ suit in holding pattern | AspenTimes.com

‘Gonzo’ suit in holding pattern

John ColsonAspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN The two sides of a pay dispute involving Hunter S. Thompson’s estate have until Tuesday to come to some sort of agreement.If they don’t, a judge has ordered them to either get on with the lawsuit or let it go.”There are a lot of moving parts,” said Hal Haddon of Denver, the attorney for the Thompson estate, adding, “I’m hopeful” for a settlement.The suit, filed by Thompson’s former secretary and assistant, Deborah Fuller, alleges that Thompson’s estate owes her $100,000 or more in back wages, stemming from her 21 years of working with the writer at his Owl Creek Farm property in Woody Creek.Fuller, who now lives in Minnesota, worked for Thompson and lived on his property from 1983 until 2004, according to documents on file in the Pitkin County Courthouse.Thompson, the originator of the gonzo style of journalism and author of numerous books, shot himself to death Feb. 20, 2005, in the kitchen at his home.Fuller, who left Thompson’s employ in 2004, had sent him a letter demanding he pay her back wages. Court documents indicate she had once “agreed to defer some of her wages due to financial difficulties Mr. Thompson was having.” Fuller alleged that Thompson had promised to pay her but failed to meet her demands, according to the court documents, and she filed suit in 2006.The case was in danger of dismissal for lack of action at the end of 2006, after the clerk of the district court filed a motion to throw it out because Thompson’s estate and its attorney had never been served legal notice. The court had set a Dec. 29 deadline for Fuller’s attorneys to either reach a settlement with the Thompson estate or file proof of service with the court so the case could proceed.But on Dec. 27, Fuller’s attorney, Colin Walker of Denver, filed a motion for extension of the deadline to Jan. 30, and Haddon filed a document saying he did not object to the extension. Judge Dan Petre granted the extension Jan. 15.Court records indicate the two sides had been negotiating for a settlement and that the talks have involved “numerous individuals and complicated issues,” but that all but one of those issues had been resolved. There was no indication what the last unresolved issue might be.The judge directed Fuller’s attorney to either file settlement documents or proof of service of the lawsuit by Jan. 30, or the case will again be in danger of dismissal.Walker was not available for comment Thursday.John Colson’s e-mail address is jcolson@aspentimes.com

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