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Outrage At Skier For Suing 7-Year-Old Boy

People upset over a man who sued a 7-year-old boy over a ski collision have subjected him and his wife to "an electronic tar and feathering," their lawyer said.

David Pfahler and Marlene Ambrogio left their Allentown, Pa., home for the holidays because angry people tied up their phone lines with repeated, automated calls since news reports of the lawsuit, attorney Jim Chalat said.

Some sent angry e-mails and calls to Chalat's Denver law firm, while others called Reader's Digest, where Pfahler works, and demanded he be fired, the Rocky Mountain News reported.

Pfahler sued Scott Swimm, now 8, of Vail and his father, Robb Swimm, in federal court in September. They said Scott, then 7, skied into Pfahler, 60, at Beaver Creek in January.

Scott's parents, Susan and Robb Swimm, told the Los Angeles Times Pfahler had earned the public outrage.

"People are really angry about this, and they should be," Susan Swimm said. "What kind of a message are we sending to our children if we're just going to turn around and sue after an accident on a ski slope?"

After the crash, Pfahler underwent surgery for a torn rotator cuff and a procedure to repair part of his clavicle, according to the lawsuit. Chalat said the Colorado Ski Safety Act holds children just as responsible for their actions as adults.

There are conflicting versions of the accident, the Times reports. Chalat says the boy sped into Pfahler.

Scott's parents tell a different story: They say the boy was going slowly and apologized to Pfahler. Susan Swimm said Pfahler grabbed her son, cursed and threatened to sue. Chalat called her account "a total lie." Pfahler, he said, was taken away in an ambulance.

Chalat said that after the crash, Pfahler asked the Swimm family to help pay his $35,000 of medical bills but never heard back. The lawsuit seeks compensation for physical therapy, vacation time, nursing and medical services provided by Pfahler's wife, and other expenses.