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Tort Law

Federal Judge Nixes Most of Widow’s Suit re Hiker Killed By Mountain Goat in National Park

Posted Aug 23, 2012 12:21 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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Saying that sovereign immunity prevents a widow from holding the government liable for a mountain goat's fatal attack on her husband while he was hiking at Olympic National Park, a federal judge in Washington state has dismissed all but one of the claims in the multi-milliondollar suit.

Park officials' decision not to relocate or kill the 370-pound male, who is believed to have been aggressive toward humans before Robert Boardman was attacked two years ago, was a discretionary matter of public policy. Hence, under the Federal Tort Claims Act, the government can't be sued over its management of the animal, explained U.S. District Judge Robert Bryan in a written opinion this week in the Tacoma case.

However, Susan Chadd can continue to pursue a claim that a rescue of her 63-year-old husband was botched, reports the Associated Press.

Attorney Stephen Bulzomi is one of the plaintiff's lawyers. He says the decision "certainly circumscribes the scope of the trial," since, because one claim was not dismissed, it isn't a final, appealable ruling..

Earlier coverage:

ABAJournal.com: "$10M Federal Wrongful Death Claim Over Hiker Gored By Mountain Goat in National Park"

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