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Scuba & Climbing Liability

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Re: Scuba & Climbing Liability

Postby fatdad » Tue Oct 26, 2010 6:37 pm

Fletch wrote: "Climber's guide didn't tie a figure eight to a man's harness while climbing Everest and he fell to his death. Family awarded $2.1MM..."

But, what are your thoughts?


Too bad Fletch didn't stick around for our thoughts.

I think injured parties should have the right to sue. The Everest example is particularly apt. Guides haul people up there based upon their ability to pay, not climb. If you, as a guide, knowingly take a complete novice up a mountain, assure him he or she will be fine, you've pretty much guaranteed their safety in my book. If you can't accept the resulting liability then maybe you should be in the business of taking experienced climbers up a mountain, those who understand and accept the risk, rather than herding sheep.

Edit: Oops. Welcome back Fletch.
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Re: Scuba & Climbing Liability

Postby mrchad9 » Tue Oct 26, 2010 7:14 pm

fatdad, I think you are taking it too far. No one says you assume responsibility for someone, including this scuba verdict. It does not matter the experience level of the client.

What this case did, was say if you just take off and leave some poor soul, through your own action, you bear responsibility for what you did. The verdict had nothing to do with the diver's experience level, and really nothing to do with them being guided either. I would imagine the verdict might be the same if me and my friend went out for a dive on my friend's boat, and he took off and left me there. But the ability to pay might be a bit different.
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Re: Scuba & Climbing Liability

Postby JHH60 » Tue Oct 26, 2010 7:40 pm

mrchad9 wrote:fatdad, I think you are taking it too far. No one says you assume responsibility for someone, including this scuba verdict. It does not matter the experience level of the client.

What this case did, was say if you just take off and leave some poor soul, through your own action, you bear responsibility for what you did. The verdict had nothing to do with the diver's experience level, and really nothing to do with them being guided either. I would imagine the verdict might be the same if me and my friend went out for a dive on my friend's boat, and he took off and left me there. But the ability to pay might be a bit different.


I agree with you. The diver in this case sounds like he made multiple errors, including getting separated from his buddy, poor navigation, and/or making a free ascent in current and fog, and had he been a more competent diver the accident may not have happened. That said, the DM and boat captain made the unforgivable error of marking him accounted for on the diver roster and leaving without looking for him. The diver probably has more than his share of fault in this case, and the jury recognized this by not awarding the full damages his lawyers requested, but it sounds like the DM and boat captain have at least some liability.

This case is more like a transportation service that carries climbers to a base camp, provides some services to them while in base camp, allows climbers to ascend to the summit as independent teams, then collects them and flies them home. Nobody expects the transportation service to take responsibility for ensuring that climbers are competent to do the climb (although dive boats arguably do take responsibility for this to some extent in that they check diver C-cards before allowing them on board), and if climbers don't return on time there may or may not be any expectation that the transportation service will rescue them vs. just notifying whatever authorities may be around that the climbers are missing. But if climbers don't return and the transportation service doesn't notice, then claims they did return on their passenger flight manifest, and leaves without them, then I think most reasonable people would consider the service to have acted wrongly and to be liable.
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Re: Scuba & Climbing Liability

Postby John Duffield » Tue Oct 26, 2010 7:44 pm

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Re: Scuba & Climbing Liability

Postby fatdad » Tue Oct 26, 2010 7:45 pm

mrchad9, I didn't read the opinion (though I will), so please don't think that my example was making a logical extension of that decision. I kind of went off on a related tangent.

I just think the outdoor liability issue in this state (country) is really slanted in favor of the insurer, not the participant, often solely on the premise that they were engaged in an activity where the powers that be have presumptively established to be a dangerous activity. That presumption is used as a cop out to avoid any further examination of the underlying facts and whether the guide, etc., was or was not negligent. IMHO, that approach is wrong. Will this case prompt a reexamination of that approach. Who knows?

BTW, I'm just reading three more posts as I'm submitting this. All decent points.
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Re: Scuba & Climbing Liability

Postby mrchad9 » Tue Oct 26, 2010 7:47 pm

Fletch wrote:Say for instance, you are a guide and you have brought a 'difficult' client up into the mountains. He does something stupid, gets lost and/or hurt. You look around for a few hours, call SAR, head back down for a cup of coffee shaking your head and he shows up the next morning walking out of the woods. Then he introduces you to his lawyer and it's on...

Acually it might be more analogous to say the difficult climber got lost, the guide didn't know it. The guide got in the truck yet thought the client was there. Guide then went to go hang out in town and after 5 hours realized he left the client on the side of the mountain, THEN called SAR.

In my view that guide bears some responsibility, and ought to be paying for it.
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Re: Scuba & Climbing Liability

Postby Tanngrisnir3 » Tue Oct 26, 2010 8:22 pm

Fletch wrote:I didn't forget about you Tan!

Tanngrisnir3 wrote:Anything else irrelevant you'd like to throw in there?

No.


Excellent. Do let's remain relevant in the future then, hmmm?

Tanngrisnir3 wrote:Your OP doesn't convey your above statement whatsoever.

Yes it does.


No, it doesn't.
Tanngrisnir3 wrote:Do you even bother to read what you post?

Most of the time. Is it over your head?


No, what it is is clearly evident that you don't actually appreciate what you were initially asking. The details of the case that led to the outcome are relevant, despite your protestations to the contrary, because they would have to be substantially similar for this to hold up in the future as some sort of case law that would apply to climbing/hiking guides.
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Re: Scuba & Climbing Liability

Postby mrchad9 » Tue Oct 26, 2010 8:51 pm

Fletch- I don't think were are all completely disagreeing with you. It isn't black or white, and I think the impact of this a quite a few shades less than you, and not one that will end up hurting the climbing or scuba industry overall. No one here is trying to belittle each other's POV (except for you and Tanngrisnir3 now).

What is your opinion on the NPS killing goats?
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