Judge Awards Bear Attack Victim's Family $1.95 Million

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Following a legal challenge that went all the way to the Utah Supreme Court. U.S. District Judge Dale Kimball has sided with the family of Samuel Ives who was killed by a bear while camping in American Fork Canyon in 2007. UPI has a write up on the final verdict and the case.

Judge Dale Kimball said the U.S. Forest Service failed to warn the family, as required, that a dangerous animal was known to be in the canyon. The forest service had received reports earlier in the day that a bear had opened coolers and slashed through a nearby tent. The boy's family contended the forest service had the responsibility to warn them about the earlier incident, either verbally, by posting signs or roping off the area.



groovy mike's picture

I won’t try to second guess the verdict.

Well we obviously don’t know all the facts of this case so I won’t try to second guess the verdict.  But it does seem silly at first glance.  I would say that anyone who camps in a wilderness area is assumed to know that they are assuming the risk of wild animals being in the wilderness area.  I’m not sure if a ‘problem bear’ changes that responsibility for their own safety from the individual to the government or whether the government has an obligation to protect us from dangerous situations that we put ourselves in, but it is a thought provoking and tragic case to say the least.    I don’t see any good coming of this.  The end result won’t bring the boy back and will likely restrict access to any park where a bear opens a cooler.  I suppose you could argue though that if the parks are closed in these cases that lives may be saved in the future, so there is at least some shred of merit in that.  I think I’m still undecided on this. 

 How about you?

GooseHunter Jr's picture

That may opene up a can of

That may opene up a can of worms.  I feel for the family and yes there should have been some sign warning them of the danger in the area.  But we all know how some people are today, so if someones tent or trailer gets broken into maybe while they are not even there are they gonna sue the state for damages because they were not warned that there was a bear in the area whether is was a danerous bear or another naimal for that matter of a fact.

jaybe's picture

I wonder if this is going to

I wonder if this is going to prompt states to reduce the amount of exposure that people have to their natural resources. If they are going to be held responsible for every animal attack and have judges award families millions of dollars, that will take a lot of state park stickers to pay for it.


Topgun 30-06's picture

From what I've read so far,

From what I've read so far, the Mom and Dad were drunk in another tent, the kid had food in a tent with him where the attack happened, and they were in a primitive site, rather than in an actual campground that had signs up making campers aware of bears in the area.