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#177115 - 07/21/09 05:45 PM Re: Eagle Scout Lost on Mountain Fined $25,000 for Res [Re: benjammin]
Mike_H Offline
Addict

Registered: 04/04/07
Posts: 612
Loc: SE PA
I really think 25k is just over the top. A few hundred dollar fine, maybe...

We are only seeing bits and pieces of this story. From some of the scraps of info I have seen, his biggest mistake was going it alone, but then again, who of us hasn't?
_________________________
"I reject your reality and substitute my own..." - Adam Savage / Mythbusters

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#177120 - 07/21/09 06:30 PM Re: Eagle Scout Lost on Mountain Fined $25,000 for Res [Re: Mike_H]
clearwater Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 03/19/05
Posts: 1163
Loc: Channeled Scablands
Nanny state here we come. When the gubmint starts charging for
rescues, then the rescued will start demanding perfect performance from the rescuers, which in turn will demand restrictions of our activities for our own safety and their
reduction of liability.

No more solo hikes, hang gliding, climbing etc. And for those
considering insurance for those activities? Exemptions. If
you are found liable by the rescuers, you can be sure the
insurance companies aren't going to pay for your costs either.



Edited by clearwater (07/21/09 06:31 PM)

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#177125 - 07/21/09 07:29 PM Re: Eagle Scout Lost on Mountain Fined $25,000 for Res [Re: clearwater]
oldsoldier Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 11/25/06
Posts: 742
Loc: MA
As a person who has done an S&R up there a few years back, I can attest to one thing; negligence SHOULD be fined.
Now, that being said, from what I understand, this child wasnt negligent. In fact, he did the most logical thing-sought out a high-visibility area when hurt.
But, the negligence stems from FAR too many rescues of idiots who hike in jeans, in winter, with a wool blanket, tarp, and 2 30-packs of beer for a weekend in the woods. Yes, this has happened. More than once, which led to the law currently being the way it is in NH. When the state calls in other agencies, in other states, to assist, even if they are volunteer agencies, it STILL costs them. My S&R group is autonomous, and supported 100% through donations. We all have our own gear, and are quite comfortable in the woods. We have been trained in search techniques in all kinds of terrain. We employ dogs, horses, ATVs, jeeps, and boats. This is all personal upkeep. The state usually picks up the bill for food, and provides temporary shelter (usually with the jhelp of the red cross). But, this pulls employees from their regular jobs, and creates OT for PD & FD personnel.
My personal opinion on this is this:
There should be a panel of experts-people in the S&R arena-to determine negligence. Not left up to lawyers & judges who possibly, at BEST, consider the "wild outdoors" a night spent on their porch, swatting mosquitoes. Sometimes negligence is correct; IMHO, this is not one of those times.
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my adventures

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#177126 - 07/21/09 07:41 PM Re: Eagle Scout Lost on Mountain Fined $25,000 for Res [Re: clearwater]
benjammin Offline
Rapscallion
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/06/04
Posts: 4020
Loc: Anchorage AK
Hello, is this mic on???

Don't let the government assess the risk coverage, or provide the rescue effort. Privatize it all. The government is going to regulate it, but for God's sake, don't let them run the show!

As for insurance, why should it be any different for this activity as for anything else we do? Either insure it or have the participants post a bond or something. I am tired of paying other people's bills. What happens if you are liable in an auto accident and you have insurance? Don't they sell liability coverage? If you commit a crime then forget coverage, that's a fairly universal policy. If you are going to demonstrate a higher risk, then you should pay more. If you are willing to do something to mitigate the risks you take, then you should get a break on the premium. There are exemptions to all sorts of policies, which usually means either the risk is too high, or the tendency for abuse is too high, or it is illegal (no one is going to insure a driver for exceeding the speed limit, at least not without it costing far more than it is worth). Exemption usually means such activity is ill advised anyways. If you are going to go hiking in a posted avalanche zone, then expect to pay through the nose, or to incur great liability financially should something go wrong. I can't think of an exemptive condition that doesn't have stupid written all over it.

Let's put it another way. How much do you suppose Bear Grylls' production pays for insurance for him and the crew while they are out doing the crazy stunts they do? I am certain they have insurance against the hazards, and I bet it ain't cheap, and I bet there are exemptions in his policy as well, which he and the crew avoid like the plague.
_________________________
The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools.
-- Herbert Spencer, English Philosopher (1820-1903)

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#177395 - 07/23/09 12:20 PM Re: Eagle Scout Lost on Mountain Fined $25,000 for Res [Re: oldsoldier]
Mike_H Offline
Addict

Registered: 04/04/07
Posts: 612
Loc: SE PA
Originally Posted By: oldsoldier
As a person who has done an S&R up there a few years back, I can attest to one thing; negligence SHOULD be fined.
Now, that being said, from what I understand, this child wasnt negligent. In fact, he did the most logical thing-sought out a high-visibility area when hurt.
But, the negligence stems from FAR too many rescues of idiots who hike in jeans, in winter, with a wool blanket, tarp, and 2 30-packs of beer for a weekend in the woods. Yes, this has happened. More than once, which led to the law currently being the way it is in NH. When the state calls in other agencies, in other states, to assist, even if they are volunteer agencies, it STILL costs them. My S&R group is autonomous, and supported 100% through donations. We all have our own gear, and are quite comfortable in the woods. We have been trained in search techniques in all kinds of terrain. We employ dogs, horses, ATVs, jeeps, and boats. This is all personal upkeep. The state usually picks up the bill for food, and provides temporary shelter (usually with the jhelp of the red cross). But, this pulls employees from their regular jobs, and creates OT for PD & FD personnel.
My personal opinion on this is this:
There should be a panel of experts-people in the S&R arena-to determine negligence. Not left up to lawyers & judges who possibly, at BEST, consider the "wild outdoors" a night spent on their porch, swatting mosquitoes. Sometimes negligence is correct; IMHO, this is not one of those times.


All well said...
_________________________
"I reject your reality and substitute my own..." - Adam Savage / Mythbusters

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#177399 - 07/23/09 12:43 PM Re: Eagle Scout Lost on Mountain Fined $25,000 for Res [Re: Mike_H]
benjammin Offline
Rapscallion
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/06/04
Posts: 4020
Loc: Anchorage AK
The sticky part of evaluating negligence seems to be in determining the reasonableness of the defendant's actions. In that respect, judges and lawyers may not be necessarily qualified to make that determination, and so it would behoove the defendant to bring forth a panel of experts to witness on his behalf, so as to set the proper context of the actions leading up to the incident.

Ultimately, the court is trying to determine if the defendant's actions were a proximal cause of any injury or loss, and to what extent such cause contributed to the loss or injury. In this kid's case, based on what has been published, it is pretty clearly established that his actions led to his need for rescue, and that such actions were not reasonable, but he did a lot to mitigate the results so that the burden of rescue was diminished. Based on that, they'll probably settle out of court for a small fraction of the original fine, assuming he shows penitence and not indifference.
_________________________
The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools.
-- Herbert Spencer, English Philosopher (1820-1903)

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#177442 - 07/23/09 10:09 PM Re: Eagle Scout Lost on Mountain Fined $25,000 for Res [Re: benjammin]
EdD270 Offline
Journeyman

Registered: 12/03/08
Posts: 94
Loc: White Mountains of Arizona
Wow! A very enlightening discussion.
I don't think the boy should be fined $25k for negligence, as he's a juvenile and they are not know for making rational decisions. The standard of what a reasonable adult would do doesn't compare.
However, when people intentionally go out of bounds in ski areas, or otherwise put themselves in jeopardy, they should accept that they will have to pay the bills if things go bad. Again, a gov't agency should not "fine" but the private SAR should "bill" for their services. Most SAR are volunteers, supported by donations and fund raisers, much different from fire departments which are supported by direct taxes. We pay for their services a little at a time, rather than all at once, even if we don't use their services. We do that because it's worth it to know they're there if we need them. Even rural volunteer FD's are funded by taxes on "fire districts".
Maybe a tax or "user fee" on users of a backcountry area could be imposed to fund SAR? NAH! We don't need no steekin taxes, nor bloated bureaocracy. The only alternative is to bill for service rendered to those who use them. If the users don't pay, the SAR volunteers have to. Is that fair? There ain't no free lunch.
_________________________
"Most men take the straight and narrow. A few take the road less traveled. I chose to cut through the woods." ~Unknown~

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#177526 - 07/24/09 05:42 PM Re: Eagle Scout Lost on Mountain Fined $25,000 for Res [Re: EdD270]
paramedicpete Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 04/09/02
Posts: 1920
Loc: Frederick, Maryland
I cannot address how other areas of the country view SAR, but here (in Maryland) SAR is a law enforcement endeavor. It is viewed as a law enforcement (LE) function due to the potentiality of criminal involvement. Usually, either the Maryland State Police, the local police agency (in Frederick it is the Sheriff's Department) or if at one of the state or federal parks, a Department of Natural Resources (DNR) or United States Park Service (USPS) Ranger assumes the lead role.

Depending upon the nature of the call, they (LE) generally requests the local fire department(s)/technical rescue team and local, regional or state SAR groups. The request for assistance is considered an extension of formal or informal agreements between the police agency(s) and these other entities. It is true, that our law enforcement agencies, fire department and tech rescue team receive tax dollars, but in the case of the fire department and tech rescue team, we do a lot of fund raising and/or purchase our own gear. I believe the direct costs of rescue should never be passed along to those you we serve, for whatever reason they need our assistance.

You may or may not agree that the following illustration is a fair analogy for the situation we are discussing. I feel it does.

There has been much discussion placed upon the knowledge, skills, equipment/supplies and decision making of the individual(s) in determining blame and/or responsibility (including financial) of those who are a situation requiring assistance/rescue. Let’s say we have a hypothetical situation where a wife is being physically and mentally abused by the husband. The situation has gone on for some time and she has had opportunities to leave, but she is emotionally and financially unprepared to leave. The situation, one day escalates into a hostage situation, in which police are called, resulting in dozens of police officers, maybe even fire/EMS to resolve the situation. The police manage to subdue and take the husband into custody; she requires EMS and a trip to the hospital to treat her for injuries suffered during the situation (she has no insurance). Should she be fined or charged for the response of the police and fire/EMS? She had plenty of opportunities to prepare herself to leave, but the personal decisions she made, kept her with her abusive husband. I would think most of us would agree it would be ridiculous to fine her or charge her for being rescued. So why do we hold/expect others who may not have the same level of passion as we do, to be prepared or to always make the right decision in the “wild” to a higher level?

Yes, personal responsibility is essential, but so is compassion and understanding. In my humble opinion, unless someone is deliberately being reckless or intentionally breaking the law, we as a society have an obligation to assist/rescue those in need, without fining or charging them for our service.

I speak only for myself, but feel I have some small measure of right to hold these opinions. I have been involved with technical rescue for almost 20 years; have spent thousands of hours in classes and training, spent thousands of my own (and family’s) dollars to purchase equipment and have responded to hundreds of calls. I have laid my life on the line more than once to save someone, regardless of why they are in the situation they are in. From the bottom of my heart, I do not do these things because I want praise, thanks or compensation.

Just my 2 cents-
Pete

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#177546 - 07/24/09 07:58 PM Re: Eagle Scout Lost on Mountain Fined $25,000 for Res [Re: paramedicpete]
thseng Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 03/24/06
Posts: 900
Loc: NW NJ
Well said, Pete. I think it boils down to this:

We rescue, because we are human.

_________________________
- Tom S.

"Never trust and engineer who doesn't carry a pocketknife."

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#177739 - 07/26/09 08:35 PM Re: Eagle Scout Lost on Mountain Fined $25,000 for Res [Re: paramedicpete]
benjammin Offline
Rapscallion
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/06/04
Posts: 4020
Loc: Anchorage AK
I too believe in compassion for my fellow man, and I count charity as one of the highest ideals of humanity. However,while I will vehemntly support your right to your opinion, I will with even greater resolve oppose any notion that we as a society or as individuals should be obligated to abrogate the risks taken by others. That one or even many may feel so inclined to give from their abundance to see to the welfare of those who choose not to mind to their own needs and responsibilities should never become the basis by which all with the means to do so should be likewise compelled by law or regulation. Unfortunately, in these times such inclination has become commonplace; and so what I and those likewise blessed with an abundance in life might freely offer to those who's judgement seems lacking is compulsorily taken from us, and thus charity becomes diminished, replaced with simple extortion.

In the analogy given, and as with myriad similar situations, it is unfortunate that people get themselves into such bad predicaments, and perpetuate their error by not doing something themselves to rectify the problem before it escalates into something beyond their control. Intervention by the public servant has more to do with keeping the peace and securing the public interest than with rescuing the individual from their self imposed fate.

This expectation of entitlement is nothing more than an abuse of a benefit intended to protect a community from calamity in the course of normal and mundane activities, not to indemnify individuals against irresponsible behavior, which is increasingly invoked these days.
_________________________
The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools.
-- Herbert Spencer, English Philosopher (1820-1903)

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