Gag order next in ski-crash case? |

Gag order next in ski-crash case?

Melanie Wong
Vail correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado

EAGLE-VAIL, Colo. ” Susan Swimm said it is “ridiculous” that she and her husband are being blamed for the harassment of a Pennsylvania man who is suing her 8-year-old son, Scott, for injuries from a skiing collision.

Attorneys for David Pfahler, 60, asked a Denver federal judge Tuesday to issue a gag order against Scott’s parents. If the request is granted, the Swimms would not be able to speak with the media ” or to anyone who would speak with the media ” about the case.

The Pfahlers said they have received threatening telephone calls, e-mail messages, and were forced to leave their Allentown, Pa. home in December to escape the harassment.

His attorneys have also received threats by e-mail and phone, the gag order motion said.

While she is sorry that the Pfahlers have been harassed, Susan Swimm said she cannot control people’s opinions.

“I can’t control what the people of Allentown, Penn. think, or what people on the Internet are posting, or what comments are written to the Rocky Mountain News,” she said. “It’s not my fault that people in America are outraged.”

Pfahler alleges that Scott ran into him from behind last January while skiing at Arrowhead Mountain. Pfahler tore a tendon in his shoulder in the accident and is suing for physical therapy expenses, lost vacation time and other expenses, according to the lawsuit.

The Swimms said Scott was skiing slowly and that the collision was not violent. Scott’s father, Robb Swimm, reported that Pfahler “cut in front of my son and he was unable to stop in time.”

After the Swimms commented to the media about the lawsuit, Pfahler and his wife have been subjected to “an electronic tar and feathering,” attorneys wrote.

“The defendant’s media disclosures have created such substantial negative media coverage concerning the plaintiffs and their claims that the plaintiffs will be unable to have a fair trial,” said the motion filed by Pfahlers’ attorneys.

Susan Swimm said she should be able to talk about her son being sued, and people should know that this could happen to anyone on the slopes.

The Swimms have received many supportive calls and e-mails and even offers to help pay for legal costs, she said.

“I’ve had nothing but positive feedback from this. I just want to thank everyone for their kind words and support,” she said. “When it comes down to it, a jury will decide who was right and wrong on that day.”

James Chalat, the Pfahlers’ Denver-based attorney, declined to comment.

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