ASC appeals to state Supreme Court

— American Skiing Co. on Wednesday officially asked the Colorado Supreme Court to review a decision to reinstate Triple Peaks LLC's lawsuit against the company.

ASC filed a "petition for a writ of certiorari," which is a standard document losing parties file when they want the Supreme Court to review decisions by lower courts.

District Judge Richard Doucette dismissed the Triple Peaks lawsuit in December 2002. Triple Peaks appealed to the Colorado Court of Appeals, which reinstated the case earlier this year.

"Today, American Skiing Company filed a petition for certiorari with the Colorado Supreme Court, which seeks to have the court hear its appeal of the lower court's decision," said Andy Wirth, vice president of sales and marketing for ASC's Western resorts. "It has been the company's position that the Routt County Court's summary judgment was, in fact, the appropriate decision given the clarity of the breakup language in the purchase and sale agreement."

In April 2002, ASC backed out of an agreement to sell the Steamboat Ski Area to Triple Peaks for $91.4 million. Triple Peaks was comprised of a group of investors led by Tim and Diane Mueller of Chester, Vt.

ASC contends the purchase agreement allowed either party to cancel the deal by paying a $500,000 fee. Triple Peaks contends that only Triple Peaks could choose to cancel the sale and pay the $500,000 fee.

Triple Peaks sued ASC, seeking a court order to force the sale. In December 2002, Doucette dismissed the lawsuit.

Triple Peaks appealed Doucette's decision, and in January, a three-judge panel from the Colorado Court of Appeals overturned Doucette, in effect reinstating the case and remanding it back to the 14th Judicial District. The appellate panel made no attempt to decide the merits of the original case, but determined that Doucette was wrong to dismiss the lawsuit.

In March, ASC lost in its effort to have the Colorado Court of Appeals reconsider the panel's ruling.

The Steamboat Pilot & Today was unable to reach representatives of Triple Peaks LLC for comment Wednesday.

There is no timetable for the Supreme Court's response to ASC's petition.

"The company is appealing to the highest court in the state," Wirth said, "and the timing is up to it."

The Muellers closed earlier this year on the purchase of the Mount Crested Butte ski area.

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