September 23, 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.
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