14 Wrongful Deaths Caused by Mudslide at Church Camp

A mudslide at a church’s mountain resort killed five adults and nine children while at camp. The jury suggests an award of $3.2 million in compensation to the church for the 14 wrongful deaths. Poor construction design of the highway may be the leading factor at fault in this case.

The church previously settled a lawsuit filed by the victims’ families for $13 million. In recent reports, the highway was redesigned in the area where the mudslide took place but the trial judge is still ruling on whether the government agency should be responsible for paying for its share of damages in the wrongful death case. In the initial case, jurors found the government agency somewhat liable for the mudslide.

The mudslide was caused by a heavy rain storm followed by wildfire season. The government agency did not redesign the highway prior to these weather conditions in order to avert danger. As shown in the case, the government was aware of the state of the highway at the time.

It appears that this wrongful death case could have been prevented if something was done sooner. In Washington State the government is held responsible for public property, thus liable for personal injury or wrongful death caused by dangerous conditions.

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