What happened to Linden Feldman deserves more than the lawsuit that has been filed against the Boy Scouts of America to compensate Mr. Feldman for severe personal injuries inflicted upon him by outrageous misconduct by Scout leaders and more importantly to make sure this NEVER happens again.
On May 9, 2009, Mr. Feldman took his children to the Scout-O-Rama at Kelley Park in San Jose to have a great day with his children and their friends. No one ever imagined that he would fall 25 feet, a fall that was absolutely impossible to occur and one that “just could never happen.” The fall has changed his life forever and it horrified his children who watched their father free fall to the ground.
Mr. Feldman’s injuries occurred when he trusted Scout leaders to safely hook him and his children to a zip-line. Actually, he thought that he was taking a ride on the zip-line, but because the operators of the zip-line stupidly failed to attach a poorly designed safety harness to the zip-line, it was only attached to a thin piece of nylon that was incapable of holding his weight. The light tether had held children who rode the zip-line before him that morning, including his own children, and believing that his safety harness was safely shackled to the zip-line. Mr. Feldman jumped from the tower, and a terrifying instant later he slammed to the ground.
Mr. Feldman as he was jumping
Mr. Feldman in free fall
The zip-line at Kelly Park should have been safe. The drop was only 25 feet, providing a very shallow descent, nothing like some zip-lines where speeds of 100 miles per hour can occur.
Mr. Feldman was severely injured because Boy Scout leaders failed to train and supervise the Scout staff entrusted with the safety of children and adults that day. The staff had no idea how to attach the safety harness to the zip-line and the harness itself failed to clearly state “attach here.” Be prepared is the Scouts motto. Because Scout leaders at Scout-O-Rama were totally unprepared, used defective equipment, and were ignorant of how to safely operate a zip-line, Mr. Feldman nearly died in front of his children and everyone else there that day.
The Boy Scouts Of America are a great organization that teaches boys many valuable lessons, and thousands of volunteers give freely of their time to make scouting possible.
The list of former Boy Scouts who have done important and memorable work is long and impressive.
Personal injuries and deaths occur when people you trust have not received proper training, and the likelihood of injuries increases at mobile events such as Scout-O-Rama, which last only a day or two.
Scout leaders have a legal, moral and ethical obligation to train and supervise everyone who is responsible for the safety of others, to select safety harnesses for zip-lines that are foolproof and to assure full and complete safety training of everyone involved. That didn’t happen for this kind and gentle father.
If you know of any similar cases of Scout leaders causing serious injuries as a result of the failure to employ failsafe equipment and to use competent, well-trained staff to supervise and control events where people can be killed, please contact me.
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