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SCUBA Lawsuit Against BSA

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  • #16


    • #17
      I don't recall stating an interpretation; Blue Water Scuba's policy was (still is?) what I quoted, be it good or bad, dumb or smart that's part of this thread's discussion. I did ask two questions about adult supervision and one about safety changes since.(This message has been edited by RememberSchiff)


      • #18
        This year's leader's guide for Bear Lake Aquatics Base does not list SCUBA as a possible activity. They do offer airplane flights with the EAA, and they have ice caves rappelling, but no SCUBA.

        We have to sign waivers all the time. I'd expect that around here, any Scout participating in a SCUBA activity would have to sign a waiver, so at a minimum they would have been warned of the risk. This doesn't really seem like it's the bulk of the complaint though.


        • #19
          "Similarly, in a summer camp program it's unreasonable to expect a certified open-water diver adult buddy for every boy."

          Being a certified open-water diver I don't consider that to be an actual safety precaution. The open water courses (at least the one I took, and I get the feeling many others) don't really teach you a lot about rescuing other divers. There is the buddy checks, and some different techniques for air sharing, and a bit of practice towing a tired diver, but I don't remember much else.

          Open-water certs prepare a diver to go diving with themselves safely, and is insanely easy to get. Having taken the course I will not dive without having a buddy with a lot more experience than me. I trust myself to take care of myself, but unless I know someone I would not take having an open-water cert as a certification that they can save me when something goes wrong.


          • #20
            Yah, what T2Eagle said, eh? These are initial filings, so yeh hit everyone with da kitchen sink. Allegations are just allegations.

            Not to drift too far away from the safety and permission talk, but a little advice from a non-lawyer to the lawyer-types around here, this above is one of the reasons your profession isn't held in very high regard by the rest of society. The plaintifs are doing something here that's very much like lying. In an official filing. They're making allegations that they do not know to be true, but they're stating them as if they did know them to be true. I'm inclined to call them reckless allegations instead of just plain old allegations. Common sense and plain language says the plaintiffs are being untruthful and untrustworthy by boldly asserting as fact things they in truth only think are possibilities.

            Yes, yes, I understand the laweryly excuse here - it's all part of the dance and it's just how they get the ball rolling for discovery and all that. But it's still dishonest. Consider:

            Scout Billy runs up to the SM and breathlessly says "Johnny was carving his initials into that old-growth redwood tree over there!" The SM, upon asking how Billy knows this gets the reply "well, I didn't actually see him do it, but I saw some initials carved into the tree that looked like his, so I figured he must have done it."

            Billy gets a talk about jumping to conclusion and making reckless allegations, right?

            Courts are supposed to be where truth and justice are sought, where lying is not only morally wrong, but can get you fined or imprisoned. Yet the sort of behavior described above, this casual abuse of the notion of truth, is not only tolerated but considered an essential part of the system. That's broken.


            • #21

              I have never been able to successfully spin off a thread, so if anyone else can please do so, for now Ill continue the discussion here, it is a worthwhile discussion.

              There are two parts Id give in answer to your concern. First your analogy isnt complete and needs to be expanded to fully see what the process looks like. And second, our judicial system, like all the other parts of our democracy, is, paraphrasing Churchill, the worst form of a judicial system, except all the others that have have been tried.

              On your analogy, if you ever have the misfortune of having to read the full court filings, as opposed to a reporters or furry internet creatures paraphrase of them, youd find that they are actually very carefully written to distinguish between what the writer knows to be a fact and what the writer believes either can be discovered to be true or can reasonably be inferred to be true once all the facts are available. So a court filing of your story would fully read more like this: Scout Billy runs up to the SM and breathlessly says "Mr. SM, Johnny or George or Abe carved Johnnys initials into that old growth redwood over there. Im pretty sure when we got here there were no initials carved into that tree, but now there are, and I saw Johnny and Abe and George standing near the tree for a while, and the initials look a lot like Johnnys. So I think Johnny probably carved the initials but it might also have been George or Abe. Mr. SM you have to find out who carved the initials." Thats the initial complaint.

              Now you have discovery. The SM looks at the tree and says yes they look like Johnnys intials, what do you boys have to say for your self? Johnny says couldnt be me, I forgot to bring my knife today. George says I have my knife, but look its all rusted and dull so it couldnt have been me. Now we have two alternative endings to the story 1) Abe shows SM his knife and its sharp, shiny, dripping with sap, or 2) Abe shows SM his knife and its sharp and shiny, but he says it wasnt me, in fact Mr. ASM, an avid birder, told me this could be the work of the rare Red Bellied Initial Carving Sap Sucker. SM calls ASM (expert witness) over and he says yup thats consistent with the work of the RBICSS alright.


              • #22
                LOL. Yah, JMHawkins, I can see that, or how it looks that way.

                All I can say is that some stuff is just professional norms, eh? You're a software engineer, I believe. If you're starting work for a client, an expect that da first thing yeh probably do is work quite hard to refine a detailed specification, usin' all sorts of fancy technical terms. At very least, yeh would want to establish the outer bounds of the work, so that yeh can think about how to structure it, what subcontractors you'll need and such.

                Now a lawyer looking' at that might complain that software engineers are an odd and untrustworthy lot, wanting to specify all that up front and usin' all kinds of lingo he doesn't understand, when all he wants is a functional legal billing system. .

                Your example doesn't work too well for me, since it describes a criminal complaint rather than a civil one. Closer would be something like "I loaned Johnny my knife, and when he gave it back to me it was broken". A civil case is a dispute between two citizens, rather than a citizen reporting a crime to an authority like da tree carving.

                In da civil case, Billy is mad at Johnny and wants compensation for his broken knife. Billy doesn't really know how the knife was broken, nor who really broke the knife. He's just mad and wants a new knife. Johnny hasn't really told him exactly how the knife was broken or who was responsible for breaking it, just that it was an "accident."

                Now, they could just get in a fight, but in the interest of deterring fights between citizens, we have courts instead.

                So Billy goes to court, and because he doesn't really know what happened or believe Johnny's story, he complains about everything. That's the right of a citizen. So he complains about Johnny and about Abe who Johnny said was holding the knife when it broke and about George who said it was OK to do that with the knife. Then like T2Eagle says, Johnny and Abe and George respond to Billy's complaints. It quickly becomes clear that George wasn't anywhere nearby and that Johnny had let Abe use the knife on da condition he return it to Billy in good working order, so the dispute comes down to Abe and Billy.

                Da thing of it is, Billy didn't know any of that at the beginning. Johnny wasn't talking to him and all he knew was something George said that he wasn't sure was true.

                That's what's goin' on here, eh? The parents probably have not been told what really happened, or are faced with conflicting stories by people they don't trust. They are upset, and we give them the right to complain in any way they want because it's better than them going after other citizens on their own. As T2Eagle says, it's also faster, eh? Better to put Johnny and Abe and George and the knife in a room together and figure out what went on than to complain about Johnny, then discover that it was really Abe and start over, then discover that it was ultimately George who had taken the knife apart to clean it and not put it together properly (and start over again).

                Remember, an attorney is only representing his or her client, eh? Upset parents likely really are complaining about everybody, and so the filing really does represent their interests.



                • #23
                  Update from Salt Lake Tribune
                  Boy Scouts denies responsibility in Utah drowning death, file cross claim against scuba company.

                  "The Tuvells allege in their complaint that the defendants (BSA,Bear Lake Boy Scout Aquatic Camp,Blue Water Scuba,...) failed to ensure their son was properly equipped, dressed and weighted and that he was given defective equipment. When an emergency arose, the defendants failed to provide proper aid, they claim.

                  In its response, the Boy Scouts denied any involvement or duty with respect to "preparing and implementing" a dive plan or to "oversee, monitor, manage or supervise" the dive or provide equipment."


                  Good luck with that, my $0.02


                  • #24
                    Another reason for putting everything possible in there is, if its not then you have to ask the court to ammend the filing. Sometimes your going to get a big fat "NO". Which means you cannot raise that arguement ever again.

                    So attorney's put in anything possible to cover a future base's especially where there is so much unknown at this point.


                    • #25
                      I was certified ages ago in SCUBA (Open Water, Advanced Open Water, SAR/First Aid, Night, Deep and Cave specialties by PADI and I've actually USED all of my certs at various times, I haven't dove in a while and would for my own safety take a refersher course.

                      That said, If I had continued I would have wound up taking at least the Divemaster cert or continuing to be an Instructor but couldn't really see doing either of those unless I was going to work in the Industry. I didn't.

                      The thing I see (and this is just an opinion) as the biggest contributor to the problem is that the Instructor shouldn't have gone to the surface for any purpose(without having the entire group surface and inflate Buoyancy Compensators) other than a Dive Emergency of his buddy. But this leaves the kids alone in the water and in my view of this would be just as acceptable (although arguably actually more inherently dangerous) as leaving a climbing tower open and unstaffed with kids attached to the ropes and climbing, Or leaving the range open with firing ongoing and ammo available while the Rangemaster talked to a Scoutmaster off of the range. In my neck of the woods even if one Tower staff member were to have his attention diverted by a Tower emergency, there would always be his backup to supervise that tower operations ceased until the tower was either put back in operation or shut down. When the diving buddy pair of Instructor and Scoutmaster surfaced there was no one minding the diving operations below, IMHO, there should have also been a Divemaster, or a second Instructor (with buddy) so there was always one set of eyes on the youth divers, even in the event of a required emergency ascent of one of the two adult supervising dive buddy pairs. IMHO, especially with a) inexperienced, b)uncertified, c) youth divers taking a "discovery " class this is the nearly inexcusable part of this.


                      • #26
                        What is missing here is the whole truthful, unslanted story. We may never know what really happened.


                        • #27
                          What is missing here is the whole truthful, unslanted story. We may never know what really happened.


                          • #28
                            What is missing here is the whole truthful, unslanted story. We may never know what really happened.


                            • #29
                              I say it's the parents responsibility to limit what they let their kids do based on the maturity and ability of their children.

                              Unfortunately some parents these days are far too permissive in allowing their kids to become thrill junkies. SCUBA, ATV's, Zip lines....

                              If a parent is stupid enough to allow their kids to learn to SCUBA in a murky lake with instructors they don't know and are not present themselves, then they should have a reasonable expectation that their child will be injured or die.


                              • #30
                                Yah, hmmm...

                                Seems like there might have been an equipment issue of some sort, perhaps. In that case, da BSA is quite correct in its motion and cross-claim. They relied on da equipment and expertise of the dive instructor and dive shop, who owed a duty of care to all parties.

                                If a parent is stupid enough to allow their kids to learn to SCUBA in a murky lake with instructors they don't know...

                                Yah, WasE61, I'm curious.

                                If you're a parent, how do yeh judge da skills and qualifications of a SCUBA instructor if yeh don't know anything about SCUBA?

                                Because the person is certified? This fellow was certified. Certification isn't really that hard.

                                Because yeh "know him?" In almost every case of serial pedophilia, da parents have "known" the perpetrator.

                                Because yeh like his looks? I suspect that's what it really comes down to most of the time, which is a bit silly don't yeh think?

                                That applies whether yeh are present yourself or not, eh? You standin' on da shore without any SCUBA knowledge tryin' to armchair quarterback da SCUBA instructor doesn't sound like a great recipe for safety, does it?

                                If we want our kids to grow up and be able to live and work in da wider world with other people, they need to go out into da wider world with other people. If we want to give our kids opportunities that we never had ourselves, then we have to trust others to provide those opportunities since we can't.

                                That comes with risks, eh? But it's not as if stayin' home with us is without risks either.