A former top-level ski instructor lost his libel case against his old employer Aspen Skiing Company this week after a district judge decided he was a "limited public figure," and could thus be criticized more broadly as an individual without it qualifying as libel. Lee Mulcahy had sued SkiCo's CEO, Mike Kaplan, back in 2011 for libel after Kaplan had detailed the reasons for Mulcahy's dismissal in a letter to a local newspaper. Mulcahy was fired for taking a group of young girls out of bounds and cursing them out, charging a guest's credit card for a private lesson they didn't take, and harassing a fellow employee badly enough that the police had to be called. Mulcahy maintains he was fired for trying to organize fellow ski instructors into a union to fight for a living wage and filing two complaints with the National Labor Relations Board, with whom SkiCo ultimately had to settle after changing some workplace practices.
Mulcahy has a long history in Aspen as both a protester and an agitant, and has a restraining order placed against him by The Aspen Institute for threatening comments made on their Facebook page about the organization's elitism precipitating in "pitchforks and guns" being brought to their door. Mulcahy is also banned from any and all SkiCo property, and has another ongoing lawsuit against the Crown family, SkiCo's owners, on the unconstitutionality of such of ban. He wants the ban overturned, plus $1 in damages. That trial is set for August.
· Former instructor's libel suit against SkiCo CEO is tossed [Aspen Daily News]