CriticalDance Forum

Guenther Case Dismissed
Page 1 of 2

Author:  Azlan [ Mon Mar 12, 2001 12:35 pm ]
Post subject:  Guenther Case Dismissed

From Boston Ballet's press office:

Massachusetts Superior Court Dismisses Wrongful Death Claims Against Boston Ballet, Holmes

Boston Ballet Press Department

(BOSTON, Mass.) -- On Friday March 9, 2001, the Massachusetts Superior Court entered a judgement dismissing the wrongful death lawsuit brought by Patricia Harrington against Boston Ballet. Harrington filed the suit last July, three years after the death of her daughter Heidi Guenther, who was a Boston Ballet corps de ballet dancer.

Boston Ballet attorney Sue McQuay, of Sullivan Weinstein & McQuay, stated that Superior Court Justice Elizabeth M. Fahey fully dismissed each of the six counts, finding "no combination of facts" that could support Harrington's claims. McQuay says Judge Fahey also ordered that defendants Boston Ballet and Artistic Director Anna-Marie Holmes should recover their costs in defending the suit.

"This case is now over," McQuay said. "No credence was given by the Court to
the plaintiff's claims, and we fully expect no further action will be taken
on this matter."
See also our previous thread:

Breaking News: Guenther's Mother Sues Boston Ballet

[This message has been edited by Azlan (edited March 12, 2001).]

<font size = -2><center>(Edited by salzberg to fix link)</center></font>

<small>[ 08-11-2002, 06:10: Message edited by: salzberg ]</small>

Author:  Christina [ Tue Mar 13, 2001 10:28 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Guenther Case Dismissed

To read about this in FindLaw:<BR> <A HREF="" TARGET=_blank></A> <P>Then go to TORTS and you'll see the story listed.

Author:  Azlan [ Tue Mar 13, 2001 11:57 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Guenther Case Dismissed

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><B>Wrongful death lawsuit dismissed against Boston Ballet</B><P>Copyright 2001 Nando Media<BR>Copyright 2001 AP Online<P>Lisa Lipman, Associated Press <P>BOSTON (March 13, 2001 6:05 a.m. EST) - A wrongful death lawsuit brought against the Boston Ballet by a woman who claimed her anorexic daughter died because ballet officials pressured her to remain thin was thrown out by a judge.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P><A HREF=",2107,500462869-500706101-503867598-0,00.html?group=nation" TARGET=_blank><B>More</B></A>

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Wed Mar 14, 2001 10:29 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Guenther Case Dismissed

'Ballerina's estate may appeal suit's dismissal,' by Mary Jo Palumbo in The Boston Herald:<P> <A HREF="" TARGET=_blank><BR>/arts_culture/guen03142001.htm</A> <p>[This message has been edited by Stuart Sweeney (edited March 14, 2001).]

Author:  shag [ Fri Mar 16, 2001 8:27 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Guenther Case Dismissed

Not talking about the merits, but this actually makes sense. If there is an issue about whether a cause of action exists, it should be ferreted out early to prevent a jury finding after years of litigation and THEN an appeals court ruling that it never should have gone forward to begin with. This should only occur, obviuosly, with complex or unique facts.

Author:  Azlan [ Tue Jul 03, 2001 10:04 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Guenther Case Dismissed

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><B>Dancer's mother seeks memorial fund</B><P>Boston Herald<P>Four years after Boston Ballet dancer Heidi Guenther's death at age 22, her mother, Patricia Harrington, is calling on the company to create a memorial fund in memory of her daughter.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P><A HREF="" TARGET=_blank><B>More</B></A>

Author:  angela [ Wed Jul 04, 2001 9:50 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Guenther Case Dismissed

I feel VERY badly for Mrs.Guenther. I know someone who works for the Boston Ballet but not as a dancer. Ms. Holmes,artistic directer at the time of Heidi's death,felt it was neccessary to go around to all employees<BR>suggesting that her death was solely due to her heart condition,basically saying it wasnt pressure to loose weight for the company. My acquaintance also said it wasnt like they forced a spoon away from her mouth.....<BR> Maybe so,and maybe it was pt of the reason why the case was dismissed....BUT they DID suggest to this already petite dancer that she needed to loose weight in order to get choice pts and stay with the company....<BR> It seems to me that not only do you need excellent dancing skills but a VERY HIGH SELF ESTEEM AND IMAGE of yourself to be in the ballet world. I'm sure that Heidi could have easily found another ballet company that would have appreciated her beauty and talent and she could have been a great success.<BR> I STRONGLY feel that this dismissal will not fade easliy into the sunset for the Boston Ballet or any other company for that matter;ones that take advantage of already fragile egos of young women,and induce them to go to such ridiculous lengths to exist in a company.<BR> Some may say"WELL,THATS THE BALLET WORLD AND ITS TOUGH",but I cant help but think that some of these companies take young girls/women not only because of their youthful bodies but because their minds and self worth arent completely formed and they can easily be pressured to do such extremes for the company.

Author:  Karen [ Wed Jul 04, 2001 10:02 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Guenther Case Dismissed

I'd like to correct something that Angela said: Anna-Marie Holmes was NOT the Artistic Director of the Boston Ballet on the day that Heidi Guenther died: Bruce Marks was. As it happened, it was his LAST day as AD. whatever happened in relation to Heidi happened during BM's administration. Anything that AM Holmes may or may not have said to Heidi would have been under the direct orders of Bruce Marks. We ONLY have Heidi's diary (extracts of which her mother had published) as evidence of what she thought was said to her. what we don't know is what else she wrote in her diary. There may have been other things that would tend to exonerate the BB but were suppressed by Mrs. Guenther. On the other hand how do we know that what Heidi THOUGHT was said (heard in her head) was what was REALLY said? What we DO know was that at her annual review prior to her death, a review that she had to sign, she was told to GAIN weight.<P>As far as the cardiac condition goes: one does wonder whether Mrs. Guenther knew about it. If so, did she give any thought to the idea that perhaps a ballet career could be dangerous for Heidi? Did she only see her daughter once a year? If she saw her more often didn't she notice her daughter was dangerously thin? That given a potential heart problem this could be dangerous? I don't think these ideas are beyond the scope of a medical layperson's understanding.<P>Heidi was an adult and capable of making her own decisions. Had the ballet company treated her like a child under their care she, like all the other dancers, would have resented it - and quite rightly so. If she knew she might have a cardiac condition, she surely didn't share it with the BB. If she knew she had been anorexic in the past, she wouldn't share that either. It's not the BB's or any other company's business to keep track of the past health history of it's employees - so long as they can do their jobs. The bottom line is: Heidi was an adult. She deserved to be treated as such. She had problems she clearly couldn't deal with. She may have had a heart problem. She didn't/chose not to seek medical help. She lost her life because of her own poor decision-making. Clearly her father recognizes this, because from the beginning he refused to take part in the lawsuit. Mrs. Guenther clearly feels the need to lash out at whoever is handy. Perhaps she is doing it out of her own feelings of guilt.<p>[This message has been edited by Karen (edited July 05, 2001).]

Author:  pmeja [ Thu Jul 05, 2001 4:54 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Guenther Case Dismissed

i posted a reply before but it doesn't seem to have shown up. i should state that the boston herald recently (within the past few days) reported that ms. harrington is not planning to appeal. <p>[This message has been edited by pmeja (edited July 05, 2001).]

Author:  angela [ Thu Jul 05, 2001 8:13 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Guenther Case Dismissed

Thanks for the correction Karen as far as who was actually artistic director at the time. But I gentlely (excuse my spelling) partially agree with you.<BR> 22 yrs of age is still shy past adolescence(the the law may say otherwise) and is STILL a very vunerable period. Its not an age where MANY young women are sure of themselves.<BR> I'm sure Heidi's mom should have known better-I figure Heidi may have had image problems as well as health problems all along. But it STILL doesnt let the BB and others in the ballet world of the hook by fostering these insecurities as a way to mold ballerinas into the "ideal" image. There are just TOO many stories like Heidi's to ignore the role the heads of the dance world play in this.<BR> Personally I'M VERY GLAD that I didnt even consider dance until I was older. I wasnt as confident and didnt have a good support base until NOW,and if a dance teacher had of told me to chop of my breast and hips with a cleaver I probably would have done it!!!

Author:  pmeja [ Thu Jul 05, 2001 9:39 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Guenther Case Dismissed

angela, the truth about whether or not a young woman can be impressionable is not necessarily going to be running in tandem with, and by association making true, gossip or speculation regarding supervisors' or employers' attitudes. indignation may be a natural response when coupled with the stress involved in achieving a goal long worked for, if a man or woman is scrapping for that last contract or position. however, although it may be a popular attitude to characterize a large company as a villain in a situation such as this, that company may not always have done what you are accusing it of doing. and this one, especially in the past few years, has not.<p>[This message has been edited by pmeja (edited July 05, 2001).]

Author:  Auntie [ Thu Jul 05, 2001 7:29 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Guenther Case Dismissed

The squib above about "poor decision making" sums it all up, friends...

Author:  LMCtech [ Fri Jul 06, 2001 1:49 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Guenther Case Dismissed

Is Heidi's case really as common as popular media culture would have us believe? I wonder...

Author:  Auntie [ Fri Jul 06, 2001 4:53 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Guenther Case Dismissed

Bingo! Re: memorial fund (that's real chutzpah) - anyway, I wonder how much Boston Ballet paid out in attorneys' fees which they could probably ill dance community, including the top tier, can afford this kind of mess...

Author:  Emma Pegler [ Sat Jul 07, 2001 4:03 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Guenther Case Dismissed

But the positive aspect of the discussion that ensues in the press and on CD is that heightening awareness can avoid the problem in future. And if any death has been caused by self-imposed starvation for the sake of art - it is quite definitely one too many.

Page 1 of 2 All times are UTC - 7 hours [ DST ]
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group