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A Tragic Event Leads to Lawsuit

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  • A Tragic Event Leads to Lawsuit

    Sugar Land couple sues Boy Scouts for $50M over son's death on camping trip


    This is definitely a tragedy, but I can't think of any scout-like words to describe my first reaction to reading the headline.

    This could easily happen to any one of us. It is an accident, however in the industrial world, "there are no such things as accidents".

    For the sake of discussion, please disregard the fact that the scout was a Webelos. It just as easily could have been a Tenderfoot. I'm trying to think of ways a boy-led troop could have prevented this. When a life is taken, you just can't chalk it up to "We should have trained the boys better".

    In this case, could it have been prevented without being adult-led? Without having an adult sit and monitor the scouts the entire time?



    <p>A Sugar Land couple whose 10-year-old son died after getting hit by a golf cart on a camping trip are suing the Boy Scouts of America for $50 milion.</p> <p>Mark and Melissa Evans filed the suit Jan. 14, 2013, in Harris County's 129th State District Court, against the Boy Scouts of America, the organization's Sam Houston Area Council and Sugar Land Baptist Troop 1845 -- referred to collectively as the Boy Scout defendants.</p>

  • #2
    The Troop should have assigned a couple of scouts to watch the boys while the parents were in their conference.

    Comment


    • #3
      In my old Packs cubs and Webes only went camping when either it was (a) family camping--and then it was parent/guardian's responsibility or (b) a 'Brownsea" webelos recruiting trip. For (b) the webelos would have had some "embedded" older scouts to keep an eye on them, assigned areas, and an adult to call upon for backup. We would have never just left boys on their own.

      In addition the Troop has run into the occasional Pack on campout and invited some adults over. In those cases we made sure all the cubbies were engaged in an organized activity run by the Scouts and one of us Scouters (usually me) keep an eye on things just in case. Because you never know the boys in question--maybe some of them have developmental issues and worst judgment than average?

      At a minimum a buddy system, a designated area, some planned activities, and enough scouts to keep an eye on them. IMHO

      Comment


      • #4
        Sounds like a tragic accident that would be hard to avoid. I didn't realize that golf carts traveled fast enough to kill a kid when hit. If anything, I question the camp hosts for racing around the camp too fast.

        Comment


        • #5
          Kind of a gray area. Anyone find anything in GSS regarding Webelos at Boy Scout camps?

          This is from Webelos Outdoor Leaders Skills

          "Be sure the participants understand that this is a parent-and-son event and every Webelos Scout must have a parent (or other adult) accompanying him on the overnight campout. Each parent has a share of responsibility in planning and carrying out the campout. If a parent or guardian is unable to attend, the family should make arrangements with another adult family member or with the parent of another Webelos Scout (but not the Webelos den leader) to accompany the boy. At all times, a boy must be under the direct supervision of an adult."

          Comment


          • #6
            The kid was just crossing a camp road best as I can tell. I don't see how buddy system would have prevented this. I will say I think many camps and parks to not provide adequate parking lots and facilities an the result is cars parked on the side of the road. Especially a problem at camporee type events.

            Comment


            • #7
              My troop hosts a Webelos/troop campout each year in the fall. It allows the Webelos 1 and 2's to experience how a troop works. The den leaders, Cubmaster, troop CC, and troop ASM's attend as adult leaders. We break the cubs into patrols of 4 cubs and 1 or 2 scouts to run the patrol. Our leadership patrol ensures that the event is run well and monitors the patrols. We adults oversee the event and keeps the SPL on task. The pack submits for a sperate tour permit. As the SM I give a safety lecture to all the scouts and adults Friday night. Some young scouts like to wonder off. The den leaders need to identify these scouts so they can be watched a little bit more. What happened in Texas is sad, however the parents are looking for a payday. It would be tragic if a case like this discurages troops from having joint campouts with packs. I have found that the Webelos campout is a great scout and leader recruitment tool for the troop.

              Comment


              • #8
                From all the comments on the article itself, I would not foresee them winning if the respondents to the article are all local for the most part. As was pointed out in these comments, they dropped the other defendants, probably base on perception of who has deepest pockets and is most politically vulnerable. Another wonderful reflection on the skewed thinking of too many people today.

                Comment


                • #9
                  "What happened in Texas is sad, however the parents are looking for a payday."

                  I would say it is more vengeance.

                  Definitely poor organization of the event by the Troop.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I imagine the boys of the troop were supposed to be doing things with the Webelos and the parents were across the road getting the dog and pony show. The boys failed to keep the group together.

                    I did a little homework this afternoon. For those (like me) who were having a hard time figuring out how a golf cart caused this: There were head injuries. I had a close family member die from head injuries. It doesn't take much.

                    I had a near miss when I was 19. Ice Cream truck in front of me. I slowed down to about 10-15mph, still a kid ran out in front of me, I slammed the brakes, and luckily the kid only ended up sitting on my bumper. Think how quickly a kid can run the width of a car, and that's how fast these things can happen.

                    I don't see the plaintiffs being successful. One would think the driver would have primary responsibility, then the father, then the troop.

                    I wouldn't want to venture a guess as to motive for the lawsuit, but I'm guessing its more psychological than anything. The troop is in a better than average neighborhood. The church most likely has deep pockets as well as the BSA insurance policy.

                    It looks like there were several packs invited, so it was not a joint pack/troop thing.

                    I don't see anyway around having an adult with the Webs and Scouts at all times if this family is successful.

                    Comment


                    • #11

                      Originally posted by Austinole View Post
                      Kind of a gray area. Anyone find anything in GSS regarding Webelos at Boy Scout camps?

                      This is from Webelos Outdoor Leaders Skills

                      "Be sure the participants understand that this is a parent-and-son event and every Webelos Scout must have a parent (or other adult) accompanying him on the overnight campout. Each parent has a share of responsibility in planning and carrying out the campout. If a parent or guardian is unable to attend, the family should make arrangements with another adult family member or with the parent of another Webelos Scout (but not the Webelos den leader) to accompany the boy. At all times, a boy must be under the direct supervision of an adult."

                      If anyone has any quality sources on Web/Scout mixers I'm interested. I haven't found anything other that what Austinole brought up. I guess safest is to run it like a Webelos Den Campout if no definitive source exists. Not how I want to do it, but ya gotta do what ya gotta do.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        """"My son is dead. Who is responsible? I trusted the SCOUTS to do the right thing. Accident? Driver error? Distracted driving? Where is the planning? The training? No one trained ME! Who was supervising those kids while I was across the street watching all those ponies. My kid was a GOOD kid. He would NEVER run out in front of a car, or cross the road without looking both ways, or do anything impulsive without thinking about it first...... """.
                        """"I don't forgive, I get even. They need to LEARN something from this, by god, """"


                        Golf cart? Maybe a John Deere Gator? How old was that driver? Noise? Commotion? Blocked sight line? How quick could first aid get to them? Was it of any avail? Very sad, much to discuss and think about.
                        Our prayers for the family.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Of course there's no guarantee that having an adult sitting with the boys would have prevented the accident either. We all know how fast this stuff happens. As long as we let kids run and play accidents are going to happen. We can mitigate risk but we can't eliminate it. People sue because they can and they cast the biggest net possible because that's the way to catch the most fish. Guess I'll double check my umbrella policy.

                          I suspect the BSA and other plaintiffs will settle quickly and quietly. I'd assume it will be cheaper than fighting a big court battle and it will certainly result in much better PR. I'm not a lawyer but I suspect that's what drives most of these law suits.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by dcsimmons View Post
                            ... I'll double check my umbrella policy .... what drives most of these law suits.
                            Sometimes these things are driven by the insurance company. Sounds like a "anything that sticks strategy" in which the parents are being led by their counsel. What holds water upon discovery? Who is the best insured? Has a record of settling the most? Just raised their membership fees so they could afford larger settlements?

                            Don't count on the parents seeing much more than their life insurance policy pays out. The lawyers will do fine, though. Small comfort to the memory of that little boy.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              [QUOTE=SSScout;n408391
                              Golf cart? Maybe a John Deere Gator? How old was that driver? Noise? Commotion? Blocked sight line? How quick could first aid get to them? Was it of any avail? Very sad, much to discuss and think about. Our prayers for the family.[/QUOTE]
                              In TX state parks you typically see generic golf carts and also the John Deere onces. Most parks require cars not registered to a camp site to be parked in designated areas. Only a few cars (2-3) can be registered at any give campsite. Almost assuredly the vision was blocked by both driver and pedestrian. My guess is that the sites had too many cars, people and lacked proper adult supervision (Cub or Boy Scout).

                              Sadly, cars and carts (as well as bikes, horses, etc.) go all manner of speeds through these camp sites. I tell all my guys to treat that road way like it was a highway and look both ways. We have all our guests sign a waiver that they will be in charge of their children/guests if they are visiting and not part of the troop.

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