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May 22, 2018

Boy Scouts of America Not Liable for 13-Year-Old’s Injury at Camp | CAMPING LAW UPDATE

Boy Scouts of America Not Liable for 13-Year-Old’s Injury at Camp | CAMPING LAW UPDATE

This week’s case involves a 13-year-old Boy Scout, who sustained head injuries on a camping trip at a site owned and operated by the Boy Scouts of America. The teen had stumbled and fell at night in the dark, in an uneven area outside of the camp's shower house.

He was wearing a functioning headlamp, and he had been accompanied by scouts with no history of misbehavior, discipline issues, or disobedience and, to the contrary, scouts with a proven record, from their prior week together and the previous camping trips taken by the troop, of walking to bathrooms or showers using the buddy system only, without further adult supervision, and without incident. There were witnesses that said that the boy had been engaged in horseplay in the shower house and fell as he ran from it.

Children’s camps in New York are governed by Department of Health regulations, which mandate that camp operators provide adequate supervision to protect the campers from any unreasonable risk; and, there must be visual or verbal communications capabilities between camper and counselor during activities and a method of accounting for the camper's whereabouts at all times. But even if there is a violation of that regulation, NY law requires the injuries sustained to be reasonably foreseeable in order to hold the camp responsible.

 The court dismissed the lawsuit holding that Boy Scouts of America met its burden to show that the scout’s accident was not foreseeable.

Read up on the case here: http://www.courts.state.ny.us/reporter/3dseries/2018/2018_03617.htm

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