Aspen Skiing Co., socialites sued over dog bite
ASPEN – The Aspen Skiing Co. and a socialite couple from New York are targeted in a lawsuit that accuses them of keeping a vicious dog that bit a woman at the Gondola Plaza.
Beth Fischer’s complaint, filed Monday in Pitkin County District Court, claims she continues to receive treatment for medical issues connected to the dog bite, which happened Sept. 18. She has had multiple surgeries to her hand and resulting staph infections because of the attack, the suit says.
In addition to Skico, Fischer, an Aspen resident, is suing Stuart Parr and his juvenile daughter, along with Allison Sarofim. The three were guests of the Skico-owned Little Nell hotel at the time of the incident.
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.
Fischer’s complaint alleges that on the day in question she 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. In fact, the dog was known to its purported owners – Parr and Sarofim – to become unruly and surly when it was off-leash.
“Fischer was able to free her left hand from Babu’s mouth and she immediately realized she was injured and bleeding from the dog bite,” the suit says.
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.
Meanwhile, the daughter returned with Babu to The Little Nell, where the canine had previously been under the care of the hotel’s dog-sitting services. The suit claims that some hotel employees had known, before the alleged attack, that Babu had violent tendencies.
“Skico gained knowledge of the viciousness and dangerous propensities of Babu in the days prior to the dog bite as a result of its employees at The Little Nell observing the dog’s vicious behavior,” the suit says.
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.
“Upon information and belief, The Little Nell management did not require the removal of Babu from the premises despite their employees witnessing and experiencing first-hand the vicious tendencies and dangerous disposition of Babu,” the suit says.
The suit also says there was an eyewitness to the biting – a woman named Suzanne who called 911 and The Little Nell to report the incident.
“We believe she was a local and witnessed the dog bite,” said Jeff Wertz, an Aspen attorney who filed the suit on Fischer’s behalf. “We’re hoping she comes forward.”
Wertz described Babu as “just a regular-sized black lab.” He said while Stuart Parr and Sarofim were believed to be co-owners of the dog, the custodial arrangement is not entirely clear.
Skico could not comment immediately Monday about the suit. Efforts to reach Parr and Sarofim were unsuccessful.
Medical bills for Fischer have exceeded $200,000, Wertz said. The suit also seeks an unspecified amount in lost wages and other damages.
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User Legend: Moderator Trusted User
This weekend is supposed to bring snow to the Aspen area after a very dry start to January. It will be welcomed relief to anyone who straps on boards.