Judge Rules for Family in California Park Wall Death

August 1, 2013

A judge has ruled in favor of a family that sued the federal government after their son was crushed to death by a retaining wall at a national park in Northern California.

U.S. District Judge Troy Nunley said on Tuesday that Lassen Volcanic National Park officials knew of the dangers posed by the wall, but failed to close it as required by their safety program.

Nine-year-old Tommy Botell and his sister were sitting on top of the wall in 2009 when it gave way. Botell died. His sister was injured.

The government had sought to dismiss the lawsuit, arguing that the safety program that called for the wall’s closure was not mandatory, but at the park’s discretion. Nunley rejected that argument in granting summary judgment for Botell’s family.

A call to the U.S. Attorney’s Office early Wednesday was not immediately returned.

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