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Lawsuit in connection with deadly 2021 Big Sky honeymoon begins in Gallatin County District Court

Posted at 5:41 PM, Apr 02, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-03 11:06:10-04

BOZEMAN — A lawsuit filed by an Alabama woman whose husband died of carbon monoxide poisoning while the couple was honeymooning in Big Sky is being heard in Gallatin County District Court this week.

According to the complaint, Catharine Hudgens of Mobile, Alabama and her husband, Lewis Hudgens, were married in Florida on Saturday, Jan. 9, 2021. On Monday, Jan. 11, they traveled to Montana to honeymoon in Big Sky.

Court documents say the couple arrived at the Rainbow Ranch Lodge that Monday evening, ordered room service, and stayed in to watch the Alabama vs. Ohio State national championship game.

The following Wednesday and Thursday, Catharine's sister reportedly called the front desk and requested that someone check on the couple. According to court documents, no employees of the lodge checked on them after either of the two requests.

On Friday morning, Jan. 15, Rainbow Ranch General Manager Scott Nelson knocked on the Hudgens' door. When no one answered, he allegedly entered the room and found Lewis dead on the bed and Catharine highly disoriented.

According to the complaint, prior to Lewis's death, the Rainbow Ranch Lodge purchased a new boiler to heat a large outdoor hot tub. The room in which the Hudgens were staying was adjacent to the boiler room. A concrete wall separating the rooms had holes drilled in it that allegedly allowed carbon monoxide from the boiler to flow into the Hudgens' room.

Defendants in the lawsuit include the Rainbow Ranch Lodge and several plumbers who reportedly serviced the boiler. The lawsuit alleges negligence and wrongful death and seeks unspecified damages.

We reached out to Hudgens' attorney in court on Tuesday and were told they did not wish to speak about the case until a verdict is reached. We also reached out to the Rainbow Ranch Lodge and are still waiting to hear back. We will update this story with any response we receive.