October 25, 2014
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - A federal judge in California has ruled that the U.S. government was negligent in the death of a boy killed when a retaining wall crushed him at Lassen Volcanic National Park.
The decision by U.S. District Judge Troy L. Nunley upheld the earlier findings of a magistrate judge, who found that National Park Service officials intentionally demolished the wall before investigators could examine it.
Nunley's order filed on Monday gives a big boost to a lawsuit the boy's family has filed seeking damages.
In 2009, 9-year-old Tommy Botell and his sister were hiking a trail ascending Lassen Peak and sat on the wall to take photographs. It crumbled and a boulder crushed the boy.
The government maintains that Congress has protected it from wrongful death lawsuits.
Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.