Backcountry Lawsuits (was Family Sues in Park Death)

Backcountry Lawsuits (was Family Sues in Park Death)

Post by Tim Schneid » Thu, 05 Mar 1992 03:17:28


I am cross posting this to rec.climbing... following a recent thread
in rec.backcountry that seemed to provoke LOTS of discussion.


wayne> A Livingston, Montana family has filed a $9 million lawsuit against
wayne> the federal government over the death of an 11-year-old boy who fell
wayne> into the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone during an outing two years
wayne> ago.
wayne>      Robert and Mary Beth Childers, the parents of David Childers,
wayne> charge that the National Park Service was negligent in failing to warn
wayne> visitors of portential hazards and in failing to maintain the safety
wayne> of the scenic area of Yellowstone.

Check the last issue of Rock & Ice.... Jan/Feb

The recent case of Johnson VS USA was decided.  The ruling was that the
parents had no right to sue in this case.  This was backed up with
several expert witnesses from the AAC (American Alpine Club) and also
reliable witnesses from the rescue team involved.  In addition letters
regarding the whole affair also affected the outcome.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't this the case where a person was on
a guided climbing outing and forgot to double back the buckle in his
harness ?  Upon falling, he fell out of the harness and subsequently
to his death.  (I believe this is one of the reasons that Chouinard
Equip. changed it's name to Black Diamond Equip.) to protect the
company from being affected by the suit?  This case was also
documented in Climbing magazine several years ago... with a rather
good editorial on what climbing would be like in the future if this
case was lost by the nps or nfs or whoever was the US agency named in
this suit.

I agree that anyone's death in similar cirsumstances is a tradegy,
and I do sympathize with the folks who have lost friends and loved ones...
but on the other hand people do make conscious decisions every day..
(Drinking and Driving, going out climbing... flying on an airplane,
riding a motocycle without a helmet, bungee jumping, sky diving etc:)
and they must live/die with the consequences of those decisions.  
this is why we see disclaimers on every climbing related piece of
equipment sold from magazines to bison balls? ( i dont know if
there's a disclaimer on a bison ball or not...) just threw that in for
effect!  It is time though that people take responsibility for their
own actions.  We in this country cannot save everyone from
themselves.. and would such a "safe" life be necessarily worth living?

Alright... I'll get off my soapbox !

--
Tim Schneider                       Honeywell Air Transport Systems Division
Ph: (602) 436-3078                   PO Box 21111 MS M29D1 Phoenix, AZ 85036

 
 
 

Backcountry Lawsuits (was Family Sues in Park Death)

Post by Allen Sanders » Thu, 05 Mar 1992 09:17:50


Quote:

>The recent case of Johnson VS USA was decided.  The ruling was that the
>parents had no right to sue in this case.  This was backed up with
>several expert witnesses from the AAC (American Alpine Club) and also
>reliable witnesses from the rescue team involved.  In addition letters
>regarding the whole affair also affected the outcome.

>Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't this the case where a person was on
>a guided climbing outing and forgot to double back the buckle in his
>harness ?  Upon falling, he fell out of the harness and subsequently
>to his death.

No, This case invovled a private party who got lost and injuried.  The
victims estate (i.e. parents) sued the the NPS for not initiating a search
soon enough.  Their claim was that the NPS was responsible for the people
using their land. The 10th Appellate Court agreed the NPS.  If the case
would have gone towards the plaintiffs you would bet that all use of NPS
land would be shut down, no ifs ands or buts.

Allen S.