Lawsuit Filed Following Camelback Chair Incident

The family injured when a chair fell from Camelback’s Resort’s Sullivan Express last March has filed a lawsuit alleging employees knew about problems yet continued to load skiers. New Jersey resident Yelisey Rabaev and two of his children were in chair 62 when it detached from the haul rope and all three suffered major injuries. Yelisey’s wife Goldie, who was with the couple’s two other children, watched the incident happen from another chair and is also a party in the suit.

Various LLCs that make up Camelback Resort are listed as defendants along with parent companies KSL Resorts of California and EPR Properties of Missouri. Doppelmayr USA, manufacturer of the 1995 model year lift, is not named in the lawsuit.

“Prior to Plaintiffs’ arrival at Camelback Mountain Ski Resort on March 21, 2021, patrons riding the Sullivan Express experienced violent shaking and swinging of the chairs on the Sullivan Express that was abnormal,” lawyers for the plaintiffs allege. “The violent shaking and swinging would occur when the Sullivan Express would start moving again after being stopped. The most violent shaking and swinging of chairs would occur near the top of the Sullivan Express within the view of the lift operator and/or attendant.”

“Despite having reports that the chairs on the Sullivan Express were violently shaking and swinging, and despite the lift operator/attendant having witnessed this shaking and swinging the Camelback Defendants outrageously, wantonly, willfully, and recklessly disregarded the safety of their patrons and failed to shut down, disable, and/or prevent riders from riding Sullivan Express and, instead, continued to permit and encourage patrons to utilize the Sullivan Express,” lawyers wrote.

The father and two children fell more than 20 feet and were taken by ambulance to a local hospital. Yelisey was most seriously injured and spent nearly three weeks in three different hospitals before being transferred to an inpatient rehabilitation center. Descriptions of his injuries take up nearly an entire page of court documents and he remains disabled. The minors suffered broken bones and one a collapsed lung.

The Sullivan Express remained closed for the rest of of last season but is now back open to skiers. “While we cannot comment on ongoing litigation, we remain deeply saddened for the family involved in the March 2021 Sullivan lift incident,” Camelback Resort said in a statement. “Our number one priority is always the safety and security of our guests and employees, and we have taken and continue to take extensive measures to ensure that we are providing a safe environment.” The family is being represented by Philadelphia law firm Cohen, Placitella & Roth, which has requested a jury trial.

8 thoughts on “Lawsuit Filed Following Camelback Chair Incident

  1. Coner February 21, 2022 / 7:09 pm

    A good one for the morning meetings! Abnormal issues in full view of the operator… should have called the millwrights over and stopped loading at the very least I’d venture… Maybe just read the paragraph of what the public had seen and felt…

    Like

    • pbropetech February 21, 2022 / 9:08 pm

      It will be very interesting, especially as one of said millwrights, to see what comes out of this.

      Like

  2. Jonathan February 21, 2022 / 7:46 pm

    I betcha we now get to see the state investigation report … should be part of the public record, if this case goes to trial.

    Like

  3. Ciscokid February 22, 2022 / 11:22 am

    Tickets are already high what’s a few more bucks

    Now they put weight limits on horses so my daughter asked me “dad do they have weight limits on chair lift s”?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Anthony February 22, 2022 / 1:42 pm

    KSL needs to transfer this place to Alterra already…

    Liked by 1 person

    • skitheeast February 22, 2022 / 5:29 pm

      I asked a friend at Alterra a while back about why they had not purchased any smaller mountains (not specifically Camelback) after Vail bought Peak. He explained that Alterra has a different business strategy and that they would rather own larger, marquee destinations (or ones with that potential) over smaller ones. The idea is that they want to cultivate each resort into a unique destination in itself, as opposed to Vail’s idea of delivering the same experience across the board. When Alterra originally bought Intrawest, the initial interest was to only grab the headliners (Steamboat, Winter Park, etc.) and not get the ones they viewed as less important (Snowshoe, Stratton, one or two others). Intrawest would only sell if someone bought everything, so that did not occur, but that mentality likely still exists within the company and could lead them to be hesitant to take on Camelback (or Blue Mountain PA).

      Liked by 1 person

      • Anthony February 24, 2022 / 6:28 pm

        That makes total sense, and I actually appreciate Alterra’s model because it allows for independent decisionmaking on-resort, which as we’ve seen with Vail, is just absolutely critical.

        I say “transfer to Alterra” simply because KSL Capital Partners is a partner in Alterra, and KSL Resorts doesn’t have a great history with resort operations (particularly here at Camelback with the number of incidents they’ve had!). I just think having your own Resorts arm, when you are a partner in a Resorts company, is kind of silly. But then, Alterra probably doesn’t want to inherit the mess.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Vicky March 7, 2022 / 10:13 am

    Oh man.
    I was there for this … on the lift at the time.

    Liked by 1 person

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