An Idaho judge has ordered the Schweitzer Mountain Resort and a part-time Panhandle resident into mediation, hoping they can avoid a jury trial in the case of the resident being accused of slashing scores of chair lift seat covers at the ski resort.
The Bonner County Bee reports that a jury trail in Idaho's 1st District Court has been scheduled for next July, but Judge Barbara Buchanan is hoping for some resolution before then.
The Schwietzer resort is suing 63-year-old David Markwardt, a retired physician and Sandpoint condominium owner, for allegedly destroying more than 60 seat covers on multiple ski lifts. But Markwardt is denying the charges and claims that the resort violated the U.S. Americans with Disabilities Act for having what he called "substandard handicap parking facilities." The Bee reports that Markwardt claims to have service-related injuries from his military service during the Vietnam War.
Markwardt was initially charged with a felony count of vandalism but a North Idaho magistrate judge dismissed the charges because the state of Idaho couldn't prove that the damages had met or exceeded the $1,000-threshold that elevates a misdemeanor offense to a felony.