Judge hears both sides of bear attack lawsuit

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The case of a Pleasant Grove boy who was killed last year in a bear attack went to court today. Sam Ives' family is suing the U.S. Forest Service, alleging negligence.

U.S. attorneys asked the judge to dismiss the case, while the boy's family hopes the judge will allow it to go to trial so they can get their day in court.

Rebecca Ives, Sam Ives' mother, said, "We just really want to make sure that this can never happen to another family again."

Judge hears both sides of bear attack lawsuit

On June 17, 2007, the Ives family went camping in American Fork Canyon, and 11-year-old Sam was attacked while sleeping in a multiroom tent and killed.

A bear had been in the same place earlier that morning, but government hunters were unable to find it.

The boy's family is suing the U.S. Forest Service for $2 million, insisting he would still be alive today if the forest service would have warned campers about the nuisance bear.

Judge hears both sides of bear attack lawsuit

Allen Young, the plaintiffs' attorney, said, "Our argument is that they are left with no discretion when they know they have an imminent dangerous bear in a specific location, and that is the decision the judge has to make. We feel very good about our argument, and we feel very good about the decision this judge will make."

Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen Sorensen said, "Strictly legal questions today on some sad facts, but on the important legal question: If the United States can be held liable and recoverable in this circumstance."

Attorneys for the federal government argue the U.S. Forest Service should be immune from this type of lawsuit and that there are numerous signs warning campers about the dangers of bears in the wild.

The judge will consider today's arguments and issue a ruling in the next few weeks.

E-mail: spenrod@ksl.com

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