Comments about ‘Jury awards $2.4M in death of kayakers in 2010’

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But family will only receive 5 percent of total damages

Published: Tuesday, July 22 2014 5:15 p.m. MDT

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Taylorsville, UT

Signage is just about the only way a citizen can win against the government in wrong doings in Utah. Signage is so much a part of the laws of Utah and enforcing the laws of Utah that it is their Achilles heel.

Every driving law and violation in posted areas of land are all enforceable because of the signs posted to do or not do particular actions within posted areas. In this case it cost the lives of 2 people because of improper posting and maintaining visibility. There are books and laws regulating the placement and visibility but governmnet agency's are basically undermanned who depend on complaints or legal convictions against the agency before signs are maintained to the law. Every lawful sign has legal descripion of verbiage, height, placement, distances from obstructions and violation of any deviation to the law is justified law suits.

Signs in school zones are specific and if any thing is done to improperly post a driving sign, its a beatable infraction by the agency who posts the signs. I know schools zones signs that are blocked, too high (over 10 feet from ground), or too far from road edge are illegal to the law.

Boise, ID

Two competent grown men, pleasure boating in apparently-ufamiliar waters drown in a tragic mishap... and it's the government's fault because a warning sign was obscured?

I wasn't in the courtroom, but it makes me shake my head in dismay that the notion of PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY has apparently been lost. In the 21st Century, if you do something that might call your judgment into question and have a bad experience, hire an ambulance-chaser and blame somebody else!

Phoenix, AZ

Give us a break. Folks who would kayak near a waterfall should be totally responsible for any damages incurred. They should know there are eddies in streams that should be avoided. This sets a bad precedent that the government should identify and post all dangerous situations.

On the other hand, the next time I get a mosquito bite, I'll sue the government for failing to put up a warning sign.

West Jordan, UT

The jury in this case acknowledged that the kayakers did have some personal responsibility in the drowning, which is one reason West Jordan was held responsible for only 5 percent of the amount awarded for damages. Those who are saying "give me a break" about the jury's decision have little understanding of the facts in the case. Rather than posting their knee-jerk reaction, they might do better to actually investigate what happened. As a member of the jury who spent six long days actually LOOKING at the evidence, and another five hours deliberating on that evidence, I can assure you that this was NOT a cut-and-dried case; there was plenty of blame to spread around.

Phoenix, AZ

"The jury in this case acknowledged that the kayakers did have some personal responsibility in the drowning..."

The kayakers should be 100 percent responsible. I don't recall the taxpayer suggesting the kayakers take their chances going over a waterfall. Yet the taxpayer is held partly responsible. The entire river probably has hundreds of danger areas. Are they all posted? In fact, the entire river should now be labeled as 'off limits' to any and all boaters and other users.

"Those who are saying 'give me a break' about the jury's decision have little understanding of the facts in the case."

Why don't you use this thread to fill the readers in?

And it wasn't 'give me a break...' Read it again.

Boise, ID

I, too, would be interested in EditorJack's explanation as to why the government was responsible.

Seems to me, kayaking has some inherent hazards, and you willingly accept the risk when you push away from the shore. If you don't know what's downstream, it's YOUR responsibility to ascertain what lies ahead, and determine whether you have the skills, and are willing to accept the risk, of proceeding.

Years ago, I had a wonderful opportunity to raft the Grand Canyon, from Lee's Ferry to Lake Mead. I had to sign a disclaimer, that there were some inherent hazards in such an adventure and I was willingly accepting the risk. If there were government warning signs, they must've been obscured by brush. People drown on the mighty Colorado... fortunately I didn't, but if I had, I can't imagine holding somebody else responsible!

(The end result of our litigious society... the taxpayers foot the bill, and boating on the Jordan River will be illegal.)

casual observer
Salt Lake City, UT

When something goes wrong, it's obviously someone's fault other than those involved. The US law suit lottery, isn't it grand?

J Thompson

If the river is dangerous, why were kayaks allowed?

West Jordan, UT

wrz from Phoenix wrote:

"The kayakers should be 100 percent responsible."

And you make that judgment on what basis? Do you know anything about the actual evidence presented in court? Anything about rulings the court had already made that affected what the jury could do? How about the many pages of instructions the jury had to follow in making their decisions? No, you don't.

"Why don't you use this thread to fill the readers in?"

I heard six full days of testimony, so there's really no way to do that. But I will tell you that based on the evidence presented on both sides, the kayakers were not the only ones responsible for what happened.

By the way, my "give me a break" comment was meant to describe the general tone of the posts here; I wasn't trying to give a direct quotation.

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