In case you were wondering about the outcome of the wrongful death lawsuit against Yosemite:
FRESNO, Calif. - A federal judge has thrown out a $10 million dollar wrongful death lawsuit alleging that Yosemite National Park was negligent in the death of an experienced climber who was killed by a rockfall.
In a ruling released last week, U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Sandra M. Snyder agreed with National Park Service lawyers who argued that Yosemite was immune from such lawsuits because Congress has given rangers discretion on when and where to warn the public of potential dangers.
The suit was filed by the family of Peter Terbush, a student at Western State College, in Gunnison, Colo., who was climbing with two friends 240 feet above Curry Village, a combination of visitor cabins and duplexes, when he was killed by a falling rock in June 1999.
"We are to this day saddened by this young man's death," said Kristi Kapetan, the assistant U.S. attorney who defended the park. "We just don't feel it's our fault."
Dugan Barr, attorney for the Terbush family, said he like will appeal to the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Park officials briefly closed off the area after a slide just weeks before Terbush was killed, he noted.
"The thing that's galling about this is it's really clear the park knew about the danger," Barr said.
The plaintiffs, James and Stanli Mae Terbush, who live in Buenos Aires, Argentina, argued that the cliff face was destabilized by water overflowing from a 300,000-gallon storage tank atop Glacier Point.
Rockfalls are a natural occurrence in the park where granite cliffs rise some 3,000 feet above the valley floor. In 2003, a rockfall above Curry Village slightly injured four visitors and damaged at least six structures.
When I expressed dismay this fall about a lawsuit against the National Park Service on behalf of a rock climber killed by a rock slide, several readers told me not to worry, the case would be dismissed. Well, you were right.
I would like to add that I too thought that the lawsuit would be thrown out. However, after studying the justification for the lawsuit in the first place; I have concluded that it would have been good for the family and friends of Peter to of had the opportunity to explore the documentation and other related info/data that the Gov. was with holding. Hence, the reason for the lawsuit to begin with. It seems that we can bash Bush as much as we want (justifiably), but the Park Service and related GOVERNMENTAL agencies are immune to the same criticizing? I'm the first to admit that hypocrisy is a basic human struggle. What about you?