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For the week of July 9 - 15, 2003


Warm Springs suits assigned to new judge

Judge May will not consider complaints about $12 million deal

Express Staff Writer

Two June lawsuits filed by two separate development groups vying for uncontested ownership of the Warm Springs Ranch property in Ketchum have been assigned to a new judge.

The two lawsuits—filed in mid-June in 5th District Court in Hailey—could decide the future ownership of the approximately 76-acre golf course and restaurant property.

A June 11 civil suit filed by Sun Valley Ventures against George W. Tischer and his company, Warm Springs Ranch and Restaurant, as well as a June 12 suit filed by Tischer‘s company against Sun Valley Ventures, have both been assigned to Judge Dan Meehl. Meehl is a retired 5th District Court judge who is eligible to preside over specific cases.

Essentially, both lawsuits—which came after each of the two parties filed other suits against each other earlier in the year—argue that the defending party violated the terms of a 2002 contract to buy the Warm Springs property for $12 million.

The suit filed by Sun Valley Ventures—which earlier this year purchased and assumed title to the Warm Springs property—alleges that Tischer committed "fraud" and "materially breached" elements of the 2002 contract to purchase the property from the previous owners. The suit in part demands a declaration that the contract, originally issued to Tischer in July 2002, be declared "void."

The civil suit brought by attorneys for Warm Springs Ranch and Restaurant, on behalf of Tischer and his business partner Steve Roth, alleges that Sun Valley Ventures and its principal, Erwin D. Mieger, "breached their obligation" to the same contract. The Tischer group’s suit demands an injunction to prevent any changes being made to the property, as well as a jury trial to resolve certain elements of the controversy.

Steve Hardesty, attorney for Warm Springs Ranch and Restaurant, said Tuesday that attorneys for Sun Valley Ventures objected to Judge James May presiding over the case against Sun Valley Ventures.

A clerk for the 5th District Court said Tuesday that both of the cases had been assigned to Meehl.

The attorney and the local representative for Sun Valley Ventures could not be reached for comment.



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