Wednesday, November 5, 2014

In Ketchum, a MASSV oversight

City says clerical error botched insurance coverage

Express Staff Writer

Light shows, live music and art were all part of the MASSV events in Ketchum in 2012 and 2013. Express file photo

    The city of Ketchum has been hamstrung by a clerical error in the MASSV music festival’s 2012 insurance, which is why city leaders are electing to pay up to $40,000 of MASSV’s legal fees in a lawsuit filed by former sheriff’s detective Corey Weatherly. Ketchum co-sponsored the festival and agreed to provide insurance to cover the event in 2012.
    Weatherly was injured while working as a private security contractor at a Main Street after-party in Ketchum to close out the two-day summer festival.  Austin Cruz, a 20-year-old Hailey man, fell off a Main Street building roof and landed on Weatherly, officials reported. A broken neck was among Weatherly’s injuries and he says he never fully recovered. Weatherly filed a May 15, 2014, lawsuit alleging gross negligence, naming Cruz, MASSV Music Festival 2012, MASSV Holdings LLC, organizer Brent Russell, the city of Ketchum, building owner Casino Inc., and Christopher Werry, a Casino affiliate. Weatherly sought damages in excess of $10,000.
    While the city’s insurance provider between 2010 and 2012, HUB International Ltd., agreed to cover Ketchum’s legal fees, the company refused to defend MASSV, according to an Oct. 16 news release from the city. Fearing legal repercussions from MASSV, Ketchum City Council members agreed last month to fund MASSV’s liabilities, including an initial fee of $22,500 and a commitment to pay up to $17,500 in future costs.
    “MASSV relied on an understanding that the city would provide insurance,” City Administrator Suzanne Frick said.
    The city news release does not mention that Ketchum paid roughly $1,000 to HUB International in 2012 to expand liability coverage to MASSV in the amount of $3 million, approximately, for facility damage and personal injuries. The Idaho Mountain Express reported that information in a July 27, 2012, news story reviewing the impact of the festival. However, Frick said last week that the city no longer has a copy of the event permit.
    According to the special events license application in 2012 for the July 13 and 14 events, the main concert was approved to take place at the Simplot lot with an after-party on Main Street each night. The application indicates that the Friday, July 13, after-party was approved to last from 8 p.m. to 12 a.m. and the Saturday after-party was scheduled to last from 8 p.m. to 3 a.m., with Main Street closed to traffic at 8 p.m.
    The city of Ketchum co-sponsored the festival, minutes from an April 26, 2012, council meeting indicate. Council members voted unanimously to sponsor MASSV, waive the $450 application fee, provide power on Main Street, add the festival onto the city’s insurance policy and provide in-kind services, which include resources from the fire, police, street and parks departments, at no charge.
    At the time, Ketchum’s insurance provider was HUB International Ltd. Former Mayor Randy Hall said the city contracted with the insurance company for about two years before switching back to the Idaho Counties Risk Management Program.
    The Ketchum Events Commission policy has a caveat for fee waivers and city liability insurance coverage, should the commission deem the event a positive economic driver. The request must then be approved by the director of the Parks and Recreation Department, if there are adequate funds in its event budget. If not, the event organizer can appeal to the City Council for use of General Fund money.
    In July 2012, the Express follow-up story indicated that Ketchum City Events Coordinator Sharon Arms approved the fee waivers and insurance coverage prior to the festival.
    The event’s 2012 application left the “insurance requirements” portion of the document blank, though “City of Ketchum Insurance” was written underneath. Frick said it’s unclear who filled the application out and processed it. A city official had indicated to the Express in 2012 that the employee responsible for insurance was Lisa Enourato, communications coordinator and assistant to the city administrator. However, Enourato said this week that her role with the city’s insurance was just in the transference from ICRMP to HUB and back, and she wasn’t involved in the MASSV application or permitting process.
    Frick said there was murkiness surrounding the city’s record keeping at that time. HUB International is arguing that it agreed to insure the city, not MASSV, she said. Arms, still the arts and events coordinator, said there was an “oversight” somewhere in the application process—the insurance ended at 12:01 a.m. on Sunday, July 15, instead of 3 a.m., she said.
    Weatherly’s injury occurred between 1 a.m. and 2 a.m.
    The city has since rewritten the special events license application, Frick said, and provider ICRMP preemptively covers special events.
    “We may provide funding, but everything else is up to the applicant,” she said. 

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