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Luray Caverns countersues audio tour company

By Sally Voth - svoth@nvdaily.com

Luray Caverns Corp. is asking a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit filed last month against the tourist attraction and has filed a counterclaim.

Antenna Audio Inc., based in Norwalk, Conn., filed a complaint against Luray Caverns on Aug. 10 in U.S. District Court alleging the caverns improperly broke off a contract it had with the audio tour company and didn't pay its bills.

The suit is seeking a minimum of $500,000.

"AAI is the world leader in the development, production and implementation of interpretive audio tours for museums, exhibitions, historic sites, and other visitor attractions," the suit states. "The tours create an interesting and interactive experience for visitors while conveying the themes and stories AAI's clients want to share with their customers."

The company, whose five-year contract with Luray started in March 2009, has produced tours at more than 1,000 sites around the world, including Graceland, the Guggenheim Museum, the Vatican, Stonehenge, Ellis Island and the Louvre, according to the civil complaint.

In a motion to dismiss filed Monday, Luray Caverns states the audio equipment had "repeated endemic issues," and that led the caverns to determine Antenna Audio had defaulted on the contract.

In its counterclaim, Luray Caverns states the audio tour program was attractive in part because it could enable the venue to reduce the number of tour guides it needed, and save about 30 percent of its budget spent on guides.

However, problems soon developed, according to the counterclaim, which accused the plaintiff of breach of contract.

"Hundreds of players and thousands of headphones broke down and/or failed causing regular and frequent communications between LLC and AAI to maintain the equipment in working order," the claim states. "During calendar years 2009 and 2010, AAI continually promised to remedy and improve its efforts to keep the equipment in better working order and to arrange for LCC to have sufficient working equipment during its busiest times of the year. Unfortunately, AAI was never successful in doing so."

As a result, more guides were needed at the caverns, according to the counterclaim. An alternative audio player from Antenna Audio was tried out, but found to be lacking, it states.

Luray Caverns also is seeking at least $500,000.

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