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(Fox News)   After their son is injured by a falling dead tree while they are camping, the family sues the USFS for negligently allowing there to be so darn many trees in their National Forests   (foxnews.com) divider line 82
    More: Asinine, Canadian Forest Service, US Forest Service, United States National Forest, Idaho, emotional stress  
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6930 clicks; posted to Main » on 11 Apr 2013 at 1:16 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-04-11 12:24:11 PM
Truth is they are supposed to remove hazard trees in areas where people frequent. So yeah the family is in the right here.
 
2013-04-11 12:26:48 PM
I like to camp and hike on Forest Service land in Arkansas.  There are some tall cliffs on top of that mountain.  And one night, the land steward was awoken by a girl knocking on her door.  That girl had taken acid and was freaking out.  So the steward let her into the house to try to calm her down.  The little girl continued to lose her shiat, ran out of the house and down to the edge of the 70+ foot tall cliffs.  That's where she claimed to see Jesus and the devil at the base of the cliff and jumped.

Her family is currently trying to sue the forest service for not having a fence up at the cliff line.
 
2013-04-11 12:28:41 PM

Sapper_Topo: Truth is they are supposed to remove hazard trees in areas where people frequent. So yeah the family is in the right here. still probably wrong.


There's only so many forestry officials, and what with budget cuts and Dorners shooting them, there's less than ever. That means they can't make everything safe all the time.

Forests are big and dangerous and you have to assume some personal risk at some point and LOOK AROUND YOU FOR HAZARDS BEFORE YOU PITCH A TENT.
 
2013-04-11 12:31:03 PM
Talk about suing the forest for the trees!
 
2013-04-11 12:40:33 PM
Act of God; case dismissed.
 
2013-04-11 12:50:44 PM
I hate that it happened to a kid but dad should have been looking for widowmakers before setting up the tent.  You gather every NF Ranger in the country to comb through a single national forest for potential hazards and they will fall way short of removing them all.
 
2013-04-11 12:53:14 PM
Not only that but it wasn't an official camp site. It was just a clearing where someone made a fire ring at some point.
 
2013-04-11 01:03:38 PM
"The tree was clearly dead - had been dead for years - and was within eight feet of the fire ring, and within 48 feet of the Forest Service road," said Eric Rossman, their attorney in Boise, on Wednesday. "It was an obvious hazard."

If it was so damned obvious, why the fark did they camp under it?  I mean, yes, the Forest Service has a duty to keep things as safe as they can.  But no one made them camp there.  If I saw that it was dangerous, I'd probably camp elsewhere and alert the Ranger Station on my way back.
 
2013-04-11 01:07:42 PM

doglover: Sapper_Topo: Truth is they are supposed to remove hazard trees in areas where people frequent. So yeah the family is in the right here. still probably wrong.

There's only so many forestry officials, and what with budget cuts and Dorners shooting them, there's less than ever. That means they can't make everything safe all the time.

Forests are big and dangerous and you have to assume some personal risk at some point and LOOK AROUND YOU FOR HAZARDS BEFORE YOU PITCH A TENT.


Im an office puke and I have been tapped to go remove hazard trees so that argument doesnt work. All govt organizations are strung out. The fact is the job still has to get done it a matter of that forest using what personnel they have available. You are correct that there has to be a small amount of personal responsibility. But yeah all land management agencies are aware of the dangers of hazard trees in the west right now due the biblical levels of pine beetle kill out here. The Boise Natl Forest is huge and well staffed this could have been prevented.
 
2013-04-11 01:09:08 PM
If only this was the dumbest lawsuit we could find.
 
2013-04-11 01:09:22 PM

doglover: Not only that but it wasn't an official camp site. It was just a clearing where someone made a fire ring at some point.


That too.  "according to their complaint, the improvements there, including a fire ring made of rocks"  Oh come on.  Eric Rossman, Shyster-at-Law is reaching.

"There have been similar lawsuits elsewhere, including an Oregon man who sued the Forest Service in 2010 after he was struck and injured by a tree while driving in his truck. That case was settled earlier this year and has been dismissed."  Oh.  Okay.  That explains alot.
 
2013-04-11 01:11:03 PM

UberDave: I hate that it happened to a kid but dad should have been looking for widowmakers before setting up the tent.  You gather every NF Ranger in the country to comb through a single national forest for potential hazards and they will fall way short of removing them all.


exactly, this was SOP in all my years as a boyscout.  there IS a reason deadfalls are called "widowmakers" after all.  Now that said let me put on my lawyer hat for a moment and analyze this.

On one hand, Landowners DO have a legal duty to invitees to inspect thier property and warn of, or remove hazards

On the other there has to be argued that  deadfalls are a known hazard when camping in a forest, particularly in a place not officialy designated as a camping spot, so anyone chosing to camp there is reasonably assuming the risk and tkaing it upon themselves to be alert for such hazards

Furthermore, THE NFS has statory duties to manage the forest according to sound ecological priciples which would not always include removal of dead trees since they play an important role in replenishing the soil, feeding beneficial insects etc.

Legal conclusion: the lawusit is meritless

but as I always say in these threads, don't assume it's greed motivating this family.  If they didn't have insurance, this may be their only hope of paying the kid's medical bills.  If we had universal single payer health coverage in this country, I conservatively estimate we'd see a 75% drop in tort lawsuits in this country
 
2013-04-11 01:18:16 PM
If it wasn't a designated camp site, they're wrong.  If it was, go for it.
 
2013-04-11 01:19:16 PM
Tree ways to die.
 
2013-04-11 01:19:58 PM
Anyone can sue, winning is a different story.
 
2013-04-11 01:20:35 PM

cwick


Talk about suing the forest for the trees!


I would have gone with "can't sue the forest for the trees".
 
2013-04-11 01:21:32 PM

Sapper_Topo: The Boise Natl Forest is huge and well staffed this could have been prevented.


Well staffed with morons.  They're too busy waving their tiny penises at the BLM pukes to get anything done.
 
2013-04-11 01:24:50 PM
I'd post a link to a Rush video, but I already did that in the last two weeks...
 
2013-04-11 01:26:42 PM
Does the Forest Service have an obligation to remove widowmakers at any official campsite; primitive or developed?

They probably should just call every primitive site a backcountry site, or get a "foul ball" disclaimer on all entries.
 
2013-04-11 01:27:16 PM
Americans trying to get rich off of frivolous lawsuits due to accidents brought about by their own incompetence?

imageshack.us

Can't the government pull an "insurance company" and refer to it as an act of gawd, thereby blaming deities and relinquishing blame?
 
2013-04-11 01:27:22 PM
Thanks Obama.
 
2013-04-11 01:28:05 PM
Windfall profits.
 
2013-04-11 01:29:23 PM
I had no idea it was the Forest Services job to inspect EVERY tree a person could possibly pass/camp/see/breath on in a forested area!

I guess making sure your OWN spot was secure and didn't have dead tress near it was right out of the question...
 
2013-04-11 01:29:38 PM
"The tree was clearly dead - had been dead for years -...

So clearly this was the ideal spot for the family to set up camp.

facepalm.jpg
 
2013-04-11 01:29:58 PM
If the Forest Service was responsible for maintaining the safety of every campsite where someone had thrown together a fire ring we'd all be broke paying their budget.  If this had been one of their fee-based campsites then I'd have more sympathy for filing a lawsuit.  Not much, but more.
 
2013-04-11 01:30:32 PM
Sue the wind and the dead tree.
Let that be a lesson in spacial awareness and move on with your lives.

Also FTA: "But even if the campsite was not considered to be developed, according to their complaint, the improvements there, including a fire ring made of rocks..."

From my experience, National Parks don't usually make fire rings out of rocks. They are usually steel bands. (again, no expert, just my observations)
It was probably just made by some back-packers that left it there and wasn't an approved camping area.
 
2013-04-11 01:31:33 PM

Sapper_Topo: Truth is they are supposed to remove hazard trees in areas where people frequent. So yeah the family is in the right here.


Plus, easy access to recently deceased trees is a good way for the campground staff to raise money selling firewood at 5$ a bundle. They passed up some money there.
 
2013-04-11 01:32:32 PM

doglover: Sapper_Topo: Truth is they are supposed to remove hazard trees in areas where people frequent. So yeah the family is in the right here. still probably wrong.

There's only so many forestry officials, and what with budget cuts and Dorners shooting them, there's less than ever. That means they can't make everything safe all the time.

Forests are big and dangerous and you have to assume some personal risk at some point and LOOK AROUND YOU FOR HAZARDS BEFORE YOU PITCH A TENT.


This!
 
2013-04-11 01:38:56 PM
If you don't have enough sense NOT to recognize a dead tree, and NOT set your camp up under it, you shouldn't be in the woods.  The case should be dropped due to stupidity on the camper's part.
 
2013-04-11 01:40:31 PM
There are so many bug killed trees in the Boise National Forest, it boggles the mind.    The forest service has tried multiple times to get permission to log bug kill trees in the forest, invariably, getting sued by someone who doesn't want logging in one area or the other.

Feel bad for the family, but the forest is dangerous.   You have to accept a certain amount of risk when you go into it.

If it was obviously dead, why did you camp next to it?
 
2013-04-11 01:43:22 PM
As someone who's currently pitching a tent, I'm getting a kick out of these replies
 
2013-04-11 01:44:30 PM
"It was an obvious hazard."

..which is why we decided to camp next to it.
 
2013-04-11 01:51:13 PM
Widowmaker is one of the W's of camping (water, weather, wild critters, etc).  You DO NOT camp next to a tall dead tree.
 
2013-04-11 01:54:29 PM

doglover: Sapper_Topo: Truth is they are supposed to remove hazard trees in areas where people frequent. So yeah the family is in the right here. still probably wrong.

There's only so many forestry officials, and what with budget cuts and Dorners shooting them, a dramatic swing in allowable timber harvesting there's less than ever there's more standing dead / blowdown etc. to bonk you on the head or burn like mad. That means they can't make everything safe all the time.

Forests are big and dangerous and you have to assume some personal risk at some point and LOOK AROUND YOU FOR HAZARDS BEFORE YOU PITCH A TENT.


ftfy
 
2013-04-11 01:55:45 PM
I had a tree fall two sites over from us in the middle of the night right across a designated camp site in a state park a number of years ago.  Scared the crap out of us.  Fortunately, no one was using that site that night.  It wasn't obviously rotten, but we had been hearing a creaking noise off and on all night and it finally let go about 3 AM.
 
ZAZ [TotalFark]
2013-04-11 02:18:20 PM
A few years ago the parks agency in Massachusetts announced a policy of removing old trees from state forests because they were ugly and might fall on people.

Her family is currently trying to sue the forest service for not having a fence up at the cliff line.

Steep Rock in Washington, Connecticut has the nicest view for a long way around, or it would if there weren't a fence because some boy couldn't resist the lure of gravity.
 
2013-04-11 02:30:51 PM
WTF.   -.-  Don't go camping in the forest if you can't handle THE MIDDLE OF EVERYWHERE.  (IMO being in the woods IS the middle of everywhere...so there.)
 
2013-04-11 02:38:19 PM
This is what happens when parks don't allow campers to use chain saws.
 
2013-04-11 02:42:16 PM
Interesting read,

Death in Yellowstone

Idiots aplenty
 
2013-04-11 02:42:43 PM
A similar even happened at Shenandoah National Park some years ago when I was a seasonal ranger there. An old dead tree dropped a limb on somebody's head and they tried to sue the NPS. I'm not sure what ever became of the lawsuit, but after that event, we had to pass out little pamphlets along with the park map and newspaper that basically said 'We have dead trees and sometimes they fall down...watch out."
 
2013-04-11 02:43:15 PM

ggecko: Anyone can sue, winning is a different story.


True dat, but I'm sure getting a hefty medical bill for the boy's injuries was also a strong motivating factor for the parents to sue. The park may decide to settle out of court just to make the story go away, but not before leaving both sides with huge legal fees.

TL;DR - When people sue each other, only their lawyers win.
 
2013-04-11 02:45:12 PM
I've got a little experience (well way too much) in dealing with these things in that last fall I was struck by a large oak tree that fell during a nighttime mountain bike race.  It broke a vertebra and I had to lay in bed for 22 hrs/day for two months (could only sit for 15 minutes and then lay down for two hours with a complete torso brace on the whole time) and was off the bike for six months.  I'm still sore and am a long way from being in the shape I was in the fall.  I didn't even bother with suing.  It never crossed my mind to contact a lawyer.  If you're in the woods, trees fall.  I guess the alternative is to cut all the trees down but then someone would sue when a slump occurred on a hillside.  I took my lumps and that was that.  Yes it bites, but move on.  So I'm not talking about this from a hypothetical POV.

Just a note:  we calculated the odds of getting struck by tree based on how many trees fall/year on the trail, how long you're exposed during a ride, chances if a tree falls when you're on the trail, etc and figured it as 1 in 2,040,000

/not getting a kick out that story, it really does suck.
//sucked even worse that I was in first place in the race not far from the finish
///had I won, I would have taken 1st in the series too
 
2013-04-11 02:47:39 PM
I hope the Lawyer and the Parents the absolute worst in life.  F them, I hope they all die soon.
 
2013-04-11 02:48:05 PM
You're in the woods, one of the last remaining places that hasn't been covered in bubble wrap by the lawyers. Don't ruin it for the rest of us.
 
2013-04-11 02:50:00 PM
That settles it, cut every tree in the country down! they are too dangerous for idiots.
 
2013-04-11 02:53:32 PM
If the fire ring was built / maintained by the forest service and the site was somehow designated to be a camping area then I have no problem with the suit.

If the area was primitive camping and they just were re-using a fire-ring put there by some random campers then throw out the suit.
 
2013-04-11 02:54:34 PM

pinguwin: I guess the alternative is to cut all the trees down but then someone would sue when a slump occurred on a hillside.


With the enviros here, no slumping would be required before the lawsuits started to fly.

/dammed if you do, dammed if you don't
 
2013-04-11 03:08:21 PM
Considering that the NFS is under the Dept. of Agriculture, their first responsiblity to make sure the forests are maintained to keep profitability for the timber companies.

/I feel for the family but Mother Nature is a cruel biatch
 
2013-04-11 03:12:48 PM
Nature is dangerous, that is to be assumed. IF you don't assume nature is dangerous, you deserve to die.

I've seen people try suing wild life & flower reserves for having rattlesnakes in them that bit them. 

Nature does not forgive idiots with no situational awareness.
 
2013-04-11 03:13:02 PM
This is insane. I hope these people get smacked down in court. Litigious farks.
 
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