Bear victim's family awarded $1.95 million

May 4, 2011 at 3:13 PM
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SALT LAKE CITY, May 4 (UPI) -- The U.S. government must pay $1.95 million to the family of a boy killed by a bear for failing to warn campers it had raided the Utah campground, a judge ruled.

Samuel Ives, 11, was killed in American Fork Canyon the night of June 17, 2007, when the black bear pulled him from the tent where he was sleeping with his mother, step-father and brother.

U.S. District Judge Dale Kimball said the U.S. Forest Service failed to warn the family, as required, that a dangerous animal was known to be in the canyon. The forest service had received reports earlier in the day that a bear had opened coolers and slashed through a nearby tent, The Salt Lake Tribune reported.

The boy's family contended the forest service had the responsibility to warn them about the earlier incident, either verbally, by posting signs or roping off the area.

Sharon Ives, the victim's grandmother, told the Tribune Tuesday the family sued "to prevent this from happening to anybody else."

"Sam was always concerned about everybody else and we thought he would want this," she said. "Money doesn't bring him back. We think about him every day."

The federal government could appeal the judgment. Attorneys for the forest service maintained the agency was immune from litigation and that warnings wouldn't necessarily have prevented the fatal attack.

The forest service said there had never been a fatal attack by a black bear before in Utah.

The bear was found and killed the day after the fatal attack.

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