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#681263 - 05/04/11 08:42 PM Re: Is the US Forest Service at fault? [Re: RowVsWade]
Oregonian Offline
Three Time Spawner

Registered: 03/17/05
Posts: 1798
Pretty lame of the people to accept the money, let alone the judge for awarding it. Sign of the times I guess. It's probably not legal for a citizen to shoot a damn bear there, even in self defense... Perfect example of nanny state assuming responsibility which it can not bear :-)

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#681282 - 05/04/11 09:44 PM Re: Is the US Forest Service at fault? [Re: Oregonian]
ColeyG Offline
Ranger Danger

Registered: 02/08/07
Posts: 3098
Loc: AK
Is the forest service at fault? No way. Perhaps they had a chance to prevent this from happening, but the responsibility should lie directly on the shoulders of those that chose to go camping in the great outdoors. Having said that, I am not sure our court system will support that sentiment, in fact they probably won't.

Our societies continuous slide towards complete abandonment of personal responsibility and removal of the action-consequence relationship is sickening.

If a civil remedy is being pursued under tort law, the argument in the courts will likely revolve around the concept of whether or not the USFS and/or employees had a "duty" to act, act in this case meaning informing or warning folks about the recent bear activity, taking closure action, etc.

The elements needed to prove negligence, if that is the route that the plaintiffs go, are the following; 

1.  a clearly established duty to act
2.  a breach of that duty (either by action or inaction)
3.  causation (linking the action/inaction to damages)
4.  and damages

I agree with Dave in that I think it is good practice for organizations like the USFS to inform and educate whenever possible and appropriate, but I really don't like the precedent that would be (and is being) set throughout our country of allowing individuals to escape personal responsibility and the consequences of their actions. If you choose to set foot into the great outdoors, you shouldn't need to be told that there are a lot of things that can kill you out there. Sadly, there has been a huge erosion of what was once common sense, and we are trying to compensate for that by creating policies, procedures, and organizations to regulate, mitigate, and insulate.

Do I think that the organization involved should have mentioned the fact that there had been recent bear trouble in the area?  Absolutely.  I definitely do not think that they should be held liable for what happened though.

I'd be willing to bet the lawyers will dig something up that points out some public safety component of the USFS directives and mandates and will try to prove a breach of that "duty." Bummer for all involved.
_________________________
I am still not a cop.

EZ Thread Yarn Balls

"I don't care how you catch them, as long as you treat them well and with respect." Lani Waller in "A Steelheader's Way."

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#681289 - 05/04/11 10:02 PM Re: Is the US Forest Service at fault? [Re: ColeyG]
FishRanger Offline
Carcass

Registered: 09/26/06
Posts: 2312
Loc: Where ever Dogfish tells me to...
Did I miss the "previous attack" part in the article ? ? What I read is that it tore up a tent and some coolers .. . . .that does not make an "attack" to me. . . . .. .

I feel for the family that lost a loved one, however, it is not like they went to the circus and one of the trained perfomers went berserk. .. . .
They went campin and a bear had the nerve to go all "bear" while they were there. . . . .

Yeah, personal responsability. . . .. where did it go? ? ?
_________________________
Due to a minor mishap, I now have 15# balls. . . ...

Decisions are made by those who show up.

"Shallow men believe in luck. Strong men believe in cause and effect." Ralph Waldo Emerson

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#681319 - 05/04/11 10:51 PM Re: Is the US Forest Service at fault? [Re: JTD]
DBAppraiser Offline
Repeat Spawner

Registered: 07/06/09
Posts: 1141
Loc: MA13
Originally Posted By: JTD


So two million makes sense to you?


The money won't undo the tragedy or "hopefully save one person's life."



This is why handguns have warning labels stamped on the side of the barrel- "READ YOUR OWNERS MANUAL"







I don't really have an opinion on the money, but, what is a kid's life worth? I would say that one of my kid's lives would be worth 2 million.

Based on the article, the map showing the camp area, and the proximatey to populated areas, I think that the USFS has a responsibility to inform the public in the camp grounds about a previous bear attack and remind people about bear safety.
Not too difficult and quite frankly, that is part of the Park Rangers job, public safety in the forest.

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#681327 - 05/04/11 11:20 PM Re: Is the US Forest Service at fault? [Re: DBAppraiser]
ColeyG Offline
Ranger Danger

Registered: 02/08/07
Posts: 3098
Loc: AK
Originally Posted By: DBAppraiser
that is part of the Park Rangers job, public safety in the forest.


In the context of national parks and national forests, and with regard to "public safety issues," where do you draw the line between what is the agency's responsibility, and what should be personal responsibility?

How far should an agency go to intervene? Is simple signage enough? Verbal conveyance of information pertaining to certain hazards..which ones?

How far can land manager go before they start to negatively effect the visitors experience. Many say they are already far too intrusive. Hiding quietly in the background allowing total freedom to enjoy but being ready and able to spring into action to prevent accident or injury isn't practical or possible.

Don't touch that, it could hurt you. Don't go there you might get injured, etc. etc feels a lot like a restriction of freedom when implemented. If anything the majority of sentiment these days seems to be that land managers should be disengaging and stepping back from management rather than working towards further restriction of the public's right to enjoy their land on their terms.

We can't have it both ways. We can't have total freedom to enjoy and engage, but be spared from the dangers of the environment. So what is appropriate? What level of intervention and regulation do you think society at large could agree on?
_________________________
I am still not a cop.

EZ Thread Yarn Balls

"I don't care how you catch them, as long as you treat them well and with respect." Lani Waller in "A Steelheader's Way."

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#681331 - 05/04/11 11:39 PM Re: Is the US Forest Service at fault? [Re: ColeyG]
DBAppraiser Offline
Repeat Spawner

Registered: 07/06/09
Posts: 1141
Loc: MA13
Originally Posted By: ColeyG
Originally Posted By: DBAppraiser
that is part of the Park Rangers job, public safety in the forest.


In the context of national parks and national forests, and with regard to "public safety issues," where do you draw the line between what is the agency's responsibility, and what should be personal responsibility?

How far should an agency go to intervene? Is simple signage enough? Verbal conveyance of information pertaining to certain hazards..which ones?

How far can land manager go before they start to negatively effect the visitors experience. Many say they are already far too intrusive. Hiding quietly in the background allowing total freedom to enjoy but being ready and able to spring into action to prevent accident or injury isn't practical or possible.

Don't touch that, it could hurt you. Don't go there you might get injured, etc. etc feels a lot like a restriction of freedom when implemented. If anything the majority of sentiment these days seems to be that land managers should be disengaging and stepping back from management rather than working towards further restriction of the public's right to enjoy their land on their terms.

We can't have it both ways. We can't have total freedom to enjoy and engage, but be spared from the dangers of the environment. So what is appropriate? What level of intervention and regulation do you think society at large could agree on?


I would guess that if you polled society and asked them the question: "If the USFS knew about a prior bear attack in a heavily used camp ground do you think they have an obligation to post a few signs and remind campers they come across in the normal actions of their business day about basic bear safety, should they do this?" The resounding answer would most likely be "yes".

Like Dave said earlier, there are signs all over Yellow Stone pertaining to bears. The judge found that the USFS could of and should have warned folks about a "level 3" bear, one that most likely will attack again, and it did. Seems pretty straight forward.

It's all right here:

"In his ruling, U.S. District Judge Dale Kimball said the forest service had a "duty" to warn the Ives family of the earlier attack either verbally, by posting signs on a gate leading in the area or by roping off the specific campsite.

The Pleasant Grove boy died on June 17, 2007 - Father's Day - after a bear ripped through his tent and dragged him away. Ives' mauled body was found about 400 yards from the campsite.

The bear had caused problems in the same area 12 hours earlier, ripping through another tent and rummaging through coolers. Utah's Division of Wildlife Resources had dubbed it a "level 3" nuisance bear - considered the most dangerous - and crews set out to find it and kill it. The bear was only successfully trapped and killed after Ives' death.

Kimball said it was "foreseeable" that the bear would return to a campsite where it had earlier attacked campers and found food. The judge also said an off-duty forest service employee was negligent in failing to contact others in the agency that could have determined whether the campsite should be closed.

A forest service employee who discussed campground fees with the family did not tell them about the first attack."

One USFS employee did not contact others in the agency about the campsite and another employee discussed fees but did not warn them about the bear.

Based on the article info, that seems pretty negligent to me.



Edited by DBAppraiser (05/04/11 11:44 PM)

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#681343 - 05/05/11 12:08 AM Re: Is the US Forest Service at fault? [Re: DBAppraiser]
ColeyG Offline
Ranger Danger

Registered: 02/08/07
Posts: 3098
Loc: AK
I was trying to have a conversation that was slightly more broad than this particular case. Yes, I agree that the employees that had a chance to say something should have. I don't necessarily agree that they (ultimately the govt) should be held liable for someones death for not having said or done anything.

Now that there have been two bear attacks at that site, it seems possible that it could happen again right? Should they close it? What happens if they leave it open and someone comes in after hours and the employees don't have a chance to talk to them. What if they miss the signs because they aren't lit at night? What if the campers don't speak or understand english?

One of the points I am trying to make is that once you legally obligate a person or an organization to provide for the safety of others, you open a huge can of worms. My definition of what I want and need to be "safe" is very different than yours. Who gets to draw the line? I guess ultimately the courts do, even if it is after the fact in many cases.

I am obviously playing the devils advocate here and in doing so, I am hoping to underscore the fact that opinions on public safety (especially in the wild) and ideas on which services and provisions are necessary and appropriate vary widely. Probably to the point that they are not and will never be reconcilable.

Personally I try to not have to count on others, especially those that I don't trust with my life, to provide for my personal safety and well being.

I live 75 miles from the multi-million acre Denali National Park. You can probably count the entire park's collection of "beware of bear" signs on one hand. How many would you recommend they post to make the park safe for visitors. One on every tree, or just all of the major trailheads, campgrounds, access roads, landing strips, gravel bars, and pullouts?
_________________________
I am still not a cop.

EZ Thread Yarn Balls

"I don't care how you catch them, as long as you treat them well and with respect." Lani Waller in "A Steelheader's Way."

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#681352 - 05/05/11 12:51 AM Re: Is the US Forest Service at fault? [Re: ColeyG]
ParaLeaks Offline
WINNER

Registered: 01/11/03
Posts: 10513
Loc: Olypen
I think the Forest Service was negligent in so far as the campers weren't warned of an active bear having been at that campsite. In fact I just can't see why anyone wouldn't tell the campers in the entire area to be extra cautious.....I can see no reason why it wouldn't be at least mentioned. Very baffling.

I do have issue with involving the "off duty" employee in the liability argument, however. I don't know if the Forest Service Employees take a "24/7" oath, but I doubt it.

Terrible loss for sure.
_________________________
Agendas kill truth.
If it's a crop, plant it.




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#681359 - 05/05/11 01:19 AM Re: Is the US Forest Service at fault? [Re: ColeyG]
DBAppraiser Offline
Repeat Spawner

Registered: 07/06/09
Posts: 1141
Loc: MA13
Originally Posted By: ColeyG
I was trying to have a conversation that was slightly more broad than this particular case. Yes, I agree that the employees that had a chance to say something should have. I don't necessarily agree that they (ultimately the govt) should be held liable for someones death for not having said or done anything.

Now that there have been two bear attacks at that site, it seems possible that it could happen again right? Should they close it? What happens if they leave it open and someone comes in after hours and the employees don't have a chance to talk to them. What if they miss the signs because they aren't lit at night? What if the campers don't speak or understand english?

One of the points I am trying to make is that once you legally obligate a person or an organization to provide for the safety of others, you open a huge can of worms. My definition of what I want and need to be "safe" is very different than yours. Who gets to draw the line? I guess ultimately the courts do, even if it is after the fact in many cases.

I am obviously playing the devils advocate here and in doing so, I am hoping to underscore the fact that opinions on public safety (especially in the wild) and ideas on which services and provisions are necessary and appropriate vary widely. Probably to the point that they are not and will never be reconcilable.

Personally I try to not have to count on others, especially those that I don't trust with my life, to provide for my personal safety and well being.

I live 75 miles from the multi-million acre Denali National Park. You can probably count the entire park's collection of "beware of bear" signs on one hand. How many would you recommend they post to make the park safe for visitors. One on every tree, or just all of the major trailheads, campgrounds, access roads, landing strips, gravel bars, and pullouts?


Sign location is very simple: On the fee collection box. Since this is a USFS camp ground and fees are being collected you can bet that there is a fee collection box and everyone is expected to pay upon arrival. See, not that hard.

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#681367 - 05/05/11 01:40 AM Re: Is the US Forest Service at fault? [Re: Idaho Mike]
Krijack Offline
Repeat Spawner

Registered: 06/03/06
Posts: 1170
Loc: Tacoma
Seems like a good ruling to me. Reasonable and prudent behavior would have been to warn the family. Imagine if you were camping and a bear ripped apart your tent and dragged out the cooler. Now as you are leaving the campground, you see another family with kids setting up camp. Would you just walk by them and not warn them? What if you and your kids are playing in a park and see a cougar. Do you tell the other families or just leave? The park was collecting fees and regulation activity. To not disclose a known risk was, in my opinion, criminally negligent.

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#681373 - 05/05/11 07:14 AM Re: Is the US Forest Service at fault? [Re: Krijack]
Oregonian Offline
Three Time Spawner

Registered: 03/17/05
Posts: 1798
Originally Posted By: Krijack
Seems like a good ruling to me. Reasonable and prudent behavior would have been to warn the family. Imagine if you were camping and a bear ripped apart your tent and dragged out the cooler. Now as you are leaving the campground, you see another family with kids setting up camp. Would you just walk by them and not warn them? What if you and your kids are playing in a park and see a cougar. Do you tell the other families or just leave? The park was collecting fees and regulation activity. To not disclose a known risk was, in my opinion, criminally negligent.




Good grief, city slicker's should just stay in the city...it's safer.

I wonder what exactly took place at that campsite, a little bit of common sense would go a long way........

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#681374 - 05/05/11 07:33 AM Re: Is the US Forest Service at fault? [Re: Oregonian]
Oregonian Offline
Three Time Spawner

Registered: 03/17/05
Posts: 1798
Where were the parents while this bear was ripping into the tent and mauling their child ?

I see they were suing to try to "make a difference", it doesn't say what they plan to do with all that free money...

This lack of personal responsibility and common sense is sickening.

Did they sue the tent manufacturer ? Was there a warning label stating that the tent was not bear proof ?

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#681379 - 05/05/11 09:50 AM Re: Is the US Forest Service at fault? [Re: ]
ParaLeaks Offline
WINNER

Registered: 01/11/03
Posts: 10513
Loc: Olypen
Originally Posted By: AuntyM
I guess this guy's family should have sued also?

http://www.aolnews.com/2010/10/18/mountain-goat-gores-hiker-to-death-in-washington/

Quote:
Rangers have been tracking about eight of the 300 mountain goats that live in the park -- including this one -- because they had been acting aggressively toward hikers lately, either by not moving out of the way when people approached or by following them.



That guy took on the goat while he sent the others in the party back......probably whacked the goat in the head with his walking stick......not that goats enjoy that or anything. Ask KK.......Yo! KK! Do goats like a good "whacking"? rofl
_________________________
Agendas kill truth.
If it's a crop, plant it.




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#681394 - 05/05/11 11:50 AM Re: Is the US Forest Service at fault? [Re: ]
Oregonian Offline
Three Time Spawner

Registered: 03/17/05
Posts: 1798
Who will get the blame when one of the reintroduced wolves bites something/someone ?

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#681396 - 05/05/11 12:08 PM Re: Is the US Forest Service at fault? [Re: Oregonian]
Bigjim Offline
will always be a Juvenile at Sea

Registered: 11/15/06
Posts: 708
I cannot believe how many people enter the woods with no clue of what is possible or how to deal with it. For a family to sleep with food and trash in the woods is ridiculous. I had a buddy who decided sleeping with a bag of doritos would be a great idea. I told him to stfu and get that [censored] out the tent if he wanted me to cuddle up with him.

He got rid of the doritos, I got really hammered and they took pictures of a pitbulls vagina in my face. Those guys were assholes. But we survived the night free of bear attacks.

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#681413 - 05/05/11 01:15 PM Re: Is the US Forest Service at fault? [Re: Bigjim]
FleaFlickr02 Online   content
River Nutrients

Registered: 10/28/09
Posts: 2945
Big Jim is a tough act to follow, especially when trying to be serious, but here goes....

There is no question that what happened here was tragic, and I can't imagine the hurt it would cause me to lose one of my kids that way. I will buy that they should have put up signs, but I don't buy any argument that suggests doing so would have done anything to prevent this freak attack from occurring.

I know this is easy to say from the outside, but I understand that I am responsible for my own safety and that of my family when I take them into the woods. Frankly, if I arrived at a campsite with my family and saw signs indicating that bears had been active in the area, I would not turn around and head for home. I would go about the business of spending quality time with the family in the great outdoors, just as I set out to do. Whether there are warning signs or not, I know that bears, cougars, etc. exist and are potentially deadly, but I also know that the odds of anything bad happening, even if there is an encounter, are very slim, to the point where it isn't really worth worrying about. My guess is that this family would have done the same thing. Of course, I can't prove that any more than the attorneys who defended the Forest Service in this case, and therein lies the problem.

I think it sucks (a lot) that millions of tax dollars that were intended to benefit all of us (okay, that's a stretch) have been awarded to this family (and their attorneys) on grounds that the Forest Service failed to cover their asses by doing something that wouldn't have affected the tragic events that occurred. Where's the honest justice in that?

I'd like to think that the family will put their money to good use, but given the mentality that makes people think money compensates for the lost of a loved one, I have my doubts. More likely, little Samuel's dying legacy will be a bunch of consumer crap that ends up in landfills and the middle of the Pacific. I really hope I'm wrong.

Sad all around. Hope the little guy is happy, wherever he is. Hopefully, he's in a place where common sense rules the day and bad things don't happen to little kids.

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#681416 - 05/05/11 01:40 PM Re: Is the US Forest Service at fault? [Re: FleaFlickr02]
Bigjim Offline
will always be a Juvenile at Sea

Registered: 11/15/06
Posts: 708
Originally Posted By: FleaFlickr02
Big Jim is a tough act to follow, especially when trying to be serious, but here goes....

More likely, little Samuel's dying legacy will be a bunch of consumer crap that ends up in landfills and the middle of the Pacific. I really hope I'm wrong.

Sad all around. Hope the little guy is happy, wherever he is. Hopefully, he's in a place where common sense rules the day and bad things don't happen to little kids.



No, that is hard to follow. Its true, and very very sad.

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#681417 - 05/05/11 01:49 PM Re: Is the US Forest Service at fault? [Re: FleaFlickr02]
Krijack Offline
Repeat Spawner

Registered: 06/03/06
Posts: 1170
Loc: Tacoma
"but I also know that the odds of anything bad happening, even if there is an encounter, are very slim, to the point where it isn't really worth worrying about"

In this case it appears the odds were fairly high that a encounter could happen.


So, what I am hearing, is that common sense would not be to warn someone of a potentially dangerous situation? If you are the type of people that, after having your tent ripped apart the night before, would walk by a father and his small child and figure that "its the woods so they should just know" you are beyond sick.

Everyone keeps generalizing, but the truth is, this was an isolated situation where just a simply act of warning the people could very likely have saved a life. Sorry, but this is different than just camping. The state had put up an area that through activity of its patrons (other campers) had created a situation that was hazardous. They continued to collect fees but neglected to inform the people even though they thought it serious enough to take action against the hazard. This is not the same as the backwoods, nor is it the same as a park where no problem existed, nor is it the same as a unpoliced campground. The state had created a site that they knew would be catered by people, that many of these people would be novices, and that was policed by them. I am certain that in dry periods they put up signs telling people not to have fires. They probably have rules about where you can sleep and your behavior. All this makes it a commercial enterprise and makes them liable rather than just morally responsible.

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#681418 - 05/05/11 01:55 PM Re: Is the US Forest Service at fault? [Re: Bigjim]
stlhead Offline
River Nutrients

Registered: 03/08/99
Posts: 6830
If it were me, and most likely on the advise of my lawyers, at the first sign of a bear I would not only shut the campground down but all access to the forest within X miles. X miles are determined to be the average weeks range of a bear times 2. Now all of those people who show up for their annual camping trip will be turned away very pissed at our government but F those tax payers. One bad apple has spoiled it for everyone. Over time, unless we can cause the extinction of bears, National Forests will ony be available to the general public during hibernation.....until someone gets themselves killed, without prior warned of the danger, during that period. Gotta CYA now.
_________________________
"You learn more from losing than you do from winning." Lou Pinella

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#681423 - 05/05/11 02:37 PM Re: Is the US Forest Service at fault? [Re: stlhead]
Todd Offline
Bumpin the 6X9's

Registered: 03/08/99
Posts: 25269
Loc: Seattle, Washington USA
I'll make a quick observation that would cover my opinion on the matter for most every situation...

The USFS should never be held liable when a "general threat" becomes specific, i.e., "you're in the woods, bears live in the woods, and bears sometimes maul people"...and it happens.

The USFS should be held liable when a "specific threat" becomes an acute threat and something bad happens, i.e., the situation described in this thread.

The bear was around, and they knew it...the bear had already threatened other campers, and they knew it...the bear had already been in someone else's tent, and they knew it...and those who knew it had opportunities to share this very important information, and didn't.

In the law, these are some general questions you always need to ask...

1. Would a reasonable person recognize the risk? (the defendant)
2. Would a reasonable person communicate that risk? (the defendant)
3. Would a reasonable plaintiff not know about the risk?
4. Would a reasonable plantiff do something different and avoided the risk, if they had known about it?

In this case, I'd go with a pretty definite "yes" all around.

The USFS recognized this particular bear as a problem, and any reasonable person who recognized this threat would communicate it to people around who are in danger from the threat. There's no way the campers would have known about this specific threat if the USFS didn't tell them, and a reasonable person probably would have taken their child to a different area to avoid the risk if they were told about it.

Fish on...

Todd

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