Judge cancels motion hearing in Aspen carbon monoxide deaths case
Ryan Summerlin August 8, 2011
ASPEN – A hearing set for Tuesday in Denver federal court regarding the carbon monoxide poisoning deaths of a family of four near Aspen has been canceled.
The Pitkin County government had been scheduled to argue its motion to dismiss the civil lawsuit to a federal judge. But on Friday, the judge determined that because written arguments have already been filed, an “oral argument on the motion would not be helpful.”
Judge William J. Martinez said he will take the county’s motion to dismiss under advisement and issue a written ruling at a later date.
The federal lawsuit, filed by relatives of the deceased Lofgren family of Denver, claims that the county, former city building inspector Erik Peltonen and current county inspector Brian Pawl should be liable for the deaths. The Lofgren family died on either Nov. 27 or 28, 2008, at a home on the outskirts of Aspen.
The county has argued that it’s not culpable for the fatalities and it should be dismissed from the lawsuit.
The plaintiffs are Massachusetts resident Dr. Frederick Feuerbach, the father of Caroline Lofgren; Oregon resident Jean Rittenour, the mother of Parker Lofgren and grandmother of the two children; and Massachusetts resident Hildy Feuerbach, who is the sister of Caroline Lofgren and the representative of the deceased husband and wife’s estate.
Other defendants in the lawsuit include Basalt-based Integrity Construction Management Group and its project manager, John Wheeler; Carbondale-based Eagle Air Systems Inc.; Basalt-based Proguard Protection Services Inc.; Heat Transfer Products Inc. of Massachusetts; Marlin Brown, owner of Roaring Fork Plumbing and Heating Co.; and Jonathan Thomas and Black Diamond Development Corp., which owned the house at the time the family died in it.
The victims were Caroline Lofgren, 42, her husband, Parker, 39, and their two children, Owen, 10, and Sophie, 8. The family was staying at the home at 10 Popcorn Lane, about 31⁄2 miles east of Aspen. They had won a stay at the home, which did not have a carbon monoxide detector at the time of their deaths, at an auction at their school.
Brown and Peltonen also are scheduled to stand separate trials in Pitkin County District Court in November and December on felony charges of criminally negligent homicide.