Comments about ‘Court: Mormon church, members not liable in injury’

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Published: Monday, Dec. 2 2013 12:00 a.m. MST

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I looked up the court record on this case. It was a ward outing, not a youth outing. The girl's family elected not to partipate, so the girl rode up with another family. The other family stated they thought they were just providing her transportation. Ostensibly the girl's grandfather was going to be there but the record isn't clear about whether he was there or not. The landing area of the jump off the bridge was examined for rocks prior to anyone jumping. People were jumping off the bridge on 2 consecutive days. The girl jumped on the 2nd day. The girl received immediate medical treatment from medical professionals.

I failed to mention the "humorous story" about our son was told over the pulpit in a sacrament meeting talk by one of the stk leaders who was also a chaperone on the trip.

Fyi we've always mowed our own lawn.
It appears you've got a nice fan base.

Liberal Ted
Salt Lake City, UT

If you feel that your child is not able to make good decisions on their own, then they shouldn't be allowed to go out into the world. No matter what.

The child isn't the one suing the church. The parents of the child that weren't there are. If they really were that concern, then they should have asked to go along, so they can watch their child and make sure she didn't jump off a bridge, stand on rail road tracks, wore her seat belt, ate her vegetables, went to bed on time etc.

First, people complain there is too much church, and then they complain that the church isn't making every decision for them. What do you want? If the church is liable for peoples behavior, then the church is going to need the law of the land to grant them permission to control peoples lives. After all is the church liable or a home teacher liable if an elderly person falls and breaks their hip and dies in their home? Isn't a home teachers duty to watch over that person?

Cmon people....

Salt Lake City, UT

One on one supervision is seldom done on any outing, church or otherwise, unless there is a special needs person. Church leaders do feel a very strong sense of duty to protect children on outings, to imply otherwise is to impugn their integrity.

Sorry about Truthseekers son, but accidents do happen and criticizing a non-medical persons ability to diagnose and treat an injury in the field is Monday morning quarterbacking. If you feel your son was neglected, talk to the leader involved, not the DN.

Highland, UT


"It appears you've got a nice fan base."

Well at least you're a good sport :) but no I don't think it is "my" fanbase. I just think there are still people with common sense out there that can see that it is not the responsibility of someone else to watch every little move teenage kids make just because they happen to be on a church activity with them. To even suggest they should is ridiculous.

This lawsuit was a joke, and I haven't seen you suggest otherwise so I'm not knocking you there.

When I was about 12 growing up in California my dad worked nights and could not take me on a church sponsored father and sons campout. I wanted to go and another father in the ward was good enough to take me. I was goofing off that night running through the camp I ran into a large brick fireplace and broke my nose. It was not pretty, I was bloody, but they didn't take me home until the next day. My mom took me to the doctor and they reset my nose. End of issue. No lawsuit, no blame game.

Cedar City, UT

In most cases related to injury lawsuits, lawyers are right in the middle of it. They advertise that they will get "what you deserve" and they especially go after large corporations (which the Church is classified as).

Lawyers are careful to make you think that no one will be financially harmed by going after the big bad organization. Then they build a case that costs an enormous amount of money to litigate (both Defense and Prosecution). In the end the lawyers (both sides) emerge wealthier.

Such is the litigation-happy American economy.


"Sorry about Truthseekers son, but accidents do happen and criticizing a non-medical persons ability to diagnose and treat an injury"

"can see that it is not the responsibility of someone else to watch every little move teenage kids make just because they happen to be on a church activity with them."

Yes accidents do happen. What is the appropriate response when there are accidents?

My main issues with this particular event were:
#1 A chaperone/leader found it humorous--didn't recognize the danger or seriousness of--two 12 yr. olds being alone at the top of an unfamiliar mountain in poor visibility.

#2 He wasn't treated.
My son complained to another adult (an RN) immediately when he was injured, was given a ride back to the cabin and left alone. He called us at 9 pm--many hours after the accident complaining/tearful that his arm hurt and no one had provided ANY treatment. . (There were medical facilities nearby). The accident happened the day before they returned home.

#3 Lest you assume my son was a rowdy, out-of-control type, he is/was not.

Pendleton, OR

In support of the decision and many if not most of the expectations voiced in comments, I remind of what Joseph Smith said about running the lives of members of the church. He said that correct principles were taught and people were expected to govern themselves.


I agree with both of A Scientist's points. We as individals have the responsibility to seek salvation and exhaltation through the only Source of those things - Jesus Christ. There is no other way to receive either of them.

Bountiful, UT

"Fortunately, medical care was close by. One church member was a doctor, and an emergency room team from a Boise-based hospital just happened to be floating past".


What are the odds?

Layton, UT

I could see a kid being pressured by peers into doing something dangerous on an activity. I think adults need to be especially supportive of the kids that opt out of recklessness, instead of joining the jeers. I remember going to Lake Powell as a scout, and there was something of a competition among the boys to see who could jump off the highest point of the cliffs... I was never comfortable participating in that. I didn't get a lot of glory or attention as a result.

In this case it's interesting that the parents didn't complain about the church member who had medical expertise enough to help save their daughter's life, but still went ahead and sued the church and its membership. That seems like missing a possible miracle.

Hopefully everyone is okay now.

Greeley, CO

The ruling doesn't mean that the adults should not watch over and protect the younger folks on trips like this. What it is saying is that there existed in this particular case no special relationship that rose to the level necessary to allow a suit for negligence. Each such case is decided based on case law and the facts of the particular case. If this had been a scouting excursion the outcome would likely have come out different. It may have even come out differently had it been a youth excursion. Personally, I can't imagine suing somebody for a decision my child made, even if there was peer pressure to do what she did. I would save any potential law suit for something somebody did to my child.

Glendale, AZ

To dove-tail onto cjb's comment:

"Fortunately, medical care was close by. One church member was a doctor, and an emergency room team from a Boise-based hospital just happened to be floating past".

Seems like the Lord was looking after the girl. So then the parents decide to sue His church. Ironic. Pathetic.

Salt Lake City, UT

I hate to say this, but those are the kind of people you run from. The ones that are always looking for a way to sue. I have a cousin that has sued about everyone. The kind that will see a mop at the store and just happen to slip and fall. If everyone thought that way, can you imagine!

Bountiful, UT

The Mormon Church is self-insured and covers all participants in church activities with "Activity Insurance." This covers the cost of medical care for participants who are injured while participating in the activity. The Church wouldn't have left this family to bear all the costs for the girl's care. Knowing this, I must assume that the girl's parents wanted some punitive damages to be awarded. We live in, and the Church functions in, a litigious society. That this family filed suit should not surprise anyone. I am glad that Idaho law does not discourage church youth outings by imposing unreasonable liability upon adult leaders and the Church.

Provo, UT

Well, it's a good decision by the court. I would agree with "A Scientist," even though I usually never do. I'd say that only Christ has the power to save. However, he gives us his Gospel and administers it through his church.

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