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eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F - M
Family sues over girl's death at Big Four Ice Caves on 12/23/2011 00:03:04 MST Print View

The family of an 11-year-old Lake Stevens girl who was killed when she was struck by a boulder of ice in the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest last year is suing the U.S. Forest Service.

The suit filed Tuesday alleges that signs at the popular Big Four Ice Caves fail to adequately warn visitors about the potential danger from the kind of ice avalanche that killed Grace Tam on July 31, 2010. According to the suit, the Forest Service failed to maintain danger signs warning people of the risks of collapsing ice, snow and unstable caves along the trail to the caves.


http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2017057817_icecaveslawsuit21m.html

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: Family sues over girl's death at Big Four Ice Caves on 12/23/2011 00:08:08 MST Print View

I was at Lassen National Park and there was an official NSPS sign at Bumpass Hell (the geothermal area) that said something like, "You are entering an active geothermal area. Hazards include, but are not limited to the following: steam, scalding hot water, thin crusts, sulphuric acid fumes, and walkways that could give way. Parents are strongly advised to maintain close supervision and physical control of children at all times."

Under which, someone had handwritten in Sharpie:

"A watched child never boils."

Dale South
(dsouth) - M

Locale: Southeast
Re: Family sues over girl's death at Big Four Ice Caves on 12/23/2011 07:22:07 MST Print View

"Warning, Life is Hazardous"

Greg F
(GregF) - F

Locale: Canadian Rockies
Re: Family sues over girl's death at Big Four Ice Caves on 12/23/2011 08:35:59 MST Print View

This actually might be a legitamate complaint.

The forest service provide a bridge over a river in 2009 and didn't replace the warning signs that were previously there. If this is true then the forest service may be liable as they had previously identified that this area poses a risk that may not be obvious and they improved access to the area while removing a warning sign. He also states that the forest service has been un-responive in his requests for improved signage in the area.

I think the level of warning required really depends on how accessible the area is. Anything within 3 miles from a road with a state maintained trail or infastruture should have some information on risks posted at the trailhead. The minimum trialhead sign with a map of the area and the standard wildlife warnings along with anything else unusal

Joe Clement
(skinewmexico) - MLife

Locale: Southwest
Family sues over girl's death at Big Four Ice Caves on 12/23/2011 09:37:32 MST Print View

Tragedy happened, we should make money. After the lawyer gets his cut. It's the American way. Having warning signs would have made absolutely no difference, that family would have still gone down the trail. It's just ridiculous the hoops everyone has to jump thru to protect themselves from ambulance chasers.

Elliott Wolin
(ewolin) - MLife

Locale: Hampton Roads, Virginia
RE: Family sues over girl's death at Big Four Ice Caves on 12/23/2011 13:33:37 MST Print View

"Having warning signs would have made absolutely no difference, that family would have still gone down the trail."

Sad but very likely true...

Francis DeRoos
(fderoos@comcast.net) - M

Locale: Mid Atlantic
RE: family sues over girl's death at Big Four Ice Caves on 12/23/2011 18:11:55 MST Print View

it's always someone elses responsibility when something tragic happens and never your own bad decisions or an accident, particularly, in our country, when dollars are involved. This "blame everyone else and make them pay" mentality for mishaps and unfortunate events is one of the cancers growing and slowly crippling our country. I'm truly sorry for their loss but don't blame anyone, that's not productive.

Jeff M.
(Catalyst) - M

Locale: Costa Mesa, CA
lawsuits on 12/23/2011 18:35:07 MST Print View

From the article it sounds like the Forest Service failed to replace a sign after building the bridge and according to the father was unresponsive to his pleas to add more warnings after the incident. If my daughter was crushed by a car sized boulder and the forest service was unresponsive to my pleas to add more warnings, I'd probably want to sue them too.

Dustin Short
(upalachango) - MLife
Re: lawsuits on 12/23/2011 22:38:51 MST Print View

While I too dislike the "sue first, ask questions later" mentality of many in this country, I'm realizing more and more complaints are legitimate.

It's expensive and a PITA to sue someone. This looks like a case where a grieving father was trying work with the USFS to improve warning signs (whether he would have heeded them is irrelevant). However being a large bureaucracy they probably rebuffed him expecting him to disappear. Given the historical presence of signage he actually had a legitimate concern and when dismissed he decided to pursue the issue more aggressively.

I do believe most people would prefer to work out an issue, it's when people in bureaucracies think they're god that the small fight tends to fight with a legitimate enough law suit to make them think twice.

M B
(livingontheroad) - M
sue on 12/24/2011 20:48:18 MST Print View

I sympathize with the tragedy.

But people need to take responsibility for themselves and their own protection, or we might as well forfeit access to everything. You do not have a right to be forewarned of every natural hazard when you step off the pavement. What used to be a courtesy, provided by the government, is now being demanded as a RIGHT to be warned of all dangers.

If a bridge the forest service maintained collapsed and killed someone, they would be negligent.

Just because they did not warn sufficiently that natural hazards existed in the outdoors, is a bit more of a stretch, and perpetuates the problem that most americans wrongfully expect the great outdoors to be packaged to them as safe, convenient, entertainment.

David Olsen
(oware)

Locale: Steptoe Butte
Natural hazards on 12/25/2011 14:17:20 MST Print View

It was the case that only improvements to the land, not natural hazards are things subjective to control and hence one could litigate about things like bridges but
not lightening or wild animals.

If land owners are held accountable for natural hazards, access is going to be closed everywhere, private and public.

The recreation budget of the USFS in CA spends more money on signage than on anything else
according to an employee we met doing trail maintenance. With money in short supply,
no signs might mean no access.

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: Melbourne
Family sues over girl's death at Big Four Ice Caves on 12/25/2011 15:35:08 MST Print View

Well I changed my mind...
I am not fond of visually polluting warning signs but...
I wasn't there and till you are in a situation you don't know how you are going to react.
Franco

Edited by Franco on 12/26/2011 20:31:12 MST.