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Idaho family sues USFS for $1M after tree hit son
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eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
Idaho family sues USFS for $1M after tree hit son on 04/12/2013 16:03:14 MDT Print View

An Idaho family has sued the U.S. Forest Service demanding more than $1 million after a large dead tree at a remote campsite fell and injured their young son.
Richard and Melinda Armstrong, of Caldwell, said their family was camping in the Boise National Forest in September 2010 when a gust of wind blew over the dead tree. It fell on their son, resulting in a large laceration, a compound fracture and a puncture wound in his back that impaired his breathing.
The boy, who was 6 at the time, was taken by helicopter to a hospital in Boise.
The couple said the Forest Service was negligent because it didn't remove the tree, which was a hazard. They're suing for more than $1 million in damages and emotional stress in federal court.

more at link

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Idaho family sues USFS for $1M after tree hit son on 04/12/2013 16:16:47 MDT Print View

sigh :(

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: Re: Idaho family sues USFS for $1M after tree hit son on 04/12/2013 16:17:07 MDT Print View


Dirk R
Re: Idaho family sues USFS for $1M after tree hit son on 04/12/2013 16:35:49 MDT Print View

Chances of winning - next to zero.

I present to you a couple of recent lawsuits - one involving the collapse of ice caves that killed a young girl in Washington state and the other involving a hiker killed by a goat at Olympic National Park.

Both are tragic stories involving profound loss. In both cases, the lawsuits were dismissed.

Edited by Dirk on 04/12/2013 16:40:40 MDT.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Re: Idaho family sues USFS for $1M after tree hit son on 04/12/2013 17:01:55 MDT Print View

"Both are tragic stories involving profound loss. In both cases, the lawsuits were dismissed."

That's what rarely makes the news, unfortunately. Many, many cases are dismissed, and many more lost by such people. That they try to sue for some ridiculous sum is what always makes the news, and too often drives 'discussions' about lawsuits and such.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Idaho family sues USFS for $1M after tree hit son on 04/12/2013 17:38:48 MDT Print View

How come it is always Eric that brings us this weird news?


Tad Englund
(bestbuilder) - F - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: Idaho family sues USFS for $1M after tree hit son on 04/12/2013 17:41:47 MDT Print View

Eric is directly wired for the weird and odd news story. Probably WiFi.

How do you find this stuff?

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Idaho family sues... on 04/12/2013 17:45:31 MDT Print View

Idahoan? Wonder if this family espouses small government and individual freedom? Now, of course, it is the government that needs to step up -- as always...

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: Re: Re: Idaho family sues USFS for $1M after tree hit son on 04/12/2013 17:46:28 MDT Print View

This tree fell on us at about 2AM on USFS land. I cannot believe that trail crews don't monitor tree conditions. This tree obviously should have been removed long agao.


It put some holes in my ShangriLa 3 and scared the kids and I pretty good. We had to get up and move camp in the night.

While nobody was physically injured, the emotional scars run deep. Every time I hear wind in the trees I get panic attacks. My children have terrible recurring nightmares.

I figure shelter replacement and compensation for psychological damages for the three of us should amount to at least $250,000.

Any attorneys on BPL wanna take on a pro bono case?

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Re: Re: Idaho family sues USFS for $1M after tree hit son on 04/12/2013 18:02:32 MDT Print View

"Any attorneys on BPL wanna take on a pro bono case?"

Interesting that you mentioned Sonny. He died skiing when he ran into a tree. The family didn't sue. His wife said drug abuse was the cause.

"And The Beat Goes On"

Ian B.

Locale: PNW
Will litigate for cuben fiber on 04/12/2013 18:13:40 MDT Print View

Actually I don't have a JD so that might be a problem.

If an established campground is ignoring an obviously diseased tree which is leaning towards established camp sites... there may be an argument for negligence.

I used to drink the tort reform kool aid but after seeing my friends wife become a vegetable due to a drugged anesthesiologist and almost losing my mom (no palpable pulse or BP/week in ICU) to another physicians negligence, I now see shades of gray when it comes to civil liability (not promoting it/just saying I understand.) The only problems is in this case, it is the tax payer who is getting sued.

Hopefully the poor kid will recover well.

Edited by IDBLOOM on 04/12/2013 20:20:48 MDT.

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Re Will Litigate for Cuben on 04/12/2013 18:24:42 MDT Print View

In my opinion good torte reform would keep stupid cases like this out of the courts and free them up to deal with real cases (of which there are plenty). Maybe making losers pay legal fees for really outrageous claims would help.

When I helped with summer camps our biggest headaches were health inspectors and potential liability. There were a lot of fun activities that we didn't do just because we could have gotten sued.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Who will stand up for Bambi? on 04/12/2013 18:45:55 MDT Print View

Any animal rights lawyers out there willing to take this one on?

Daniel Fish

Locale: PDX
... on 04/12/2013 19:05:48 MDT Print View


Edited by on 06/09/2013 21:59:29 MDT.

Jeffs Eleven
(WoodenWizard) - F

Locale: Greater Mt Tabor
Re: Idaho family sues USFS for $1M after tree hit son on 04/12/2013 19:18:40 MDT Print View

I hate people.

Daniel Fish

Locale: PDX
... on 04/12/2013 19:34:57 MDT Print View


Edited by on 06/09/2013 21:58:57 MDT.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: Craig's close encounter on 04/12/2013 19:41:31 MDT Print View


ABove is the legal story.
Below is the actual story.

My son and his friend (both 11) were in the tent with me.
The bozos slept through the whole thing. I woke to the sound of the tree snapping and falling and hitting the tent, then woke the kids to see if they were OK. It was close; I suppose that if the tree fell a bit closer to us that someone would've been hit with the weight of the trunk and not the thinner top branches.

They were everywhere. Between floods and fires, there are a TON of dead trees in the canyon we camped in. I know the area well and it's pretty hard to camp without being around dead trees. What I did not expect was the 50+MPH gusts that kicked up after midnight. The entire day was calm, not even breezy, no hint of a windstorm coming.

The kids actually thought it was an adventure and had fun breaking camp and hiking in a windstorm in the middle of the night. They're hardly my son and his friend brag about it.

Granted, it could've been worse, but I don't do anything different or take any big lessons from this. We could've camped somewhere else without dead trees and been killed by a falling rock instead. It was just one of those things.

I just blew my case, didn't I?

Edited by xnomanx on 04/12/2013 19:49:10 MDT.

Karl Keating
(KarlKeating) - MLife
Torte vs. Tort on 04/12/2013 20:03:32 MDT Print View

I'm all for tort reform--I say this as an attorney--because the system is out of whack.

On the other hand, I'm even more strongly in favor of torte reform. In my opinion, the best torte reform would be to replicate the chocolate Sachertorte, which can still be had at the Sacher Hotel in Vienna.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife
Sachertorte on 04/12/2013 20:13:07 MDT Print View

You have me drooling! I spent 5 days in Vienna in the summer of 2001 and basically lived on the stuff, with an occasional foray into other kinds of torte. Not a very healthy diet, but cheaper than buying dinner (Vienna restaurants are expensive!). Breakfast (in the hostel) was a trifle healthier.

Back to our regularly scheduled programming:
Per the news article
the family was camped in a dispersed site, not in an established campground. They claim that because the dispersed site was well-used and close to a road, the Forest Service should have maintained it.

Isn't there something called "due diligence" here, in that the family should have had sense enough not to camp next to a dead tree?

My fear is that this sort of thing will make the USFS prohibit dispersed camping altogether!

Edited by hikinggranny on 04/13/2013 17:43:37 MDT.

Ian B.

Locale: PNW
Ha ha! Oops! on 04/12/2013 20:24:44 MDT Print View

One of the attnys I work with is also one of the best bakers I've ever met. After retirement, she's planning on opening a shop called "From Torts to Tarts."

Well Craig, seeing that you were assaulted and temporarily held hostage by this vile tree... well I know a Dr..... have you ever heard of Stockholm Syndrome?