The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Federal judge orders civil negligence case over NY teen swept to sea to stay in Hawaii

  • Print

HONOLULU, Hawaii - A wrongful death and negligence lawsuit for the family of a New York teen swept to sea during an excursion on Hawaii's Big Island will stay in Hawaii, a federal judge in Honolulu has ruled.

Chief U.S. District Judge Susan Mollway said in an order filed Thursday that moving the case would deprive the family of 15-year-old Tyler Madoff a meaningful day in court.

The companies being sued by Madoff's father pushed for changing courts to Jefferson County in Colorado because of an online agreement signed by Madoff's mother when the trip was originally set up. The adventure company that arranged the trip is Bold Earth Teen Adventures, which is based in Golden, Colo.

Also named as defendants in the lawsuit are Hawaii Pack and Paddle, the local tour company that led the excursion, and a tour guide.

Mollway said moving the case would make it difficult for lawyers for the Madoff family to bring witnesses to testify at trial in person, including first responders, search and rescue personnel, state officials and other hiking and kayaking tour operators in Hawaii.

Even if witnesses agreed to travel to Colorado to testify at trial, they could change their minds or run into work or family conflicts and the Madoffs would have no way to obligate them to go to court, Mollway said. That would mean the family's lawyers would have to present the majority of their case through video conferencing and taped depositions, the judge said.

"These circumstances would impair the effectiveness of any presentation, no matter how dazzling counsel might be," Mollway said in her order. "The court assumes that a Colorado trial would take advantage of all the bells and whistles that technology makes available to advocates today. But this court is far from alone in recognizing that technology is not yet able to replicate a person's physical presence."

The teen's body hasn't been found since he was swept off the west coast of Hawaii Island during a hiking portion of a kayak expedition. Authorities said at the time of the incident that the group stopped to rest at a tide pool when large waves hit and took Madoff away.

According to the lawsuit, the teens were in an area with dangerous surf warnings that's not permitted by the state.

___

Oskar Garcia can be reached on Twitter at http://twitter.com/oskargarcia

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Lindor Reynolds speaks candidly about life with terminal cancer

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A female Mallard duck leads a group of duckings on a morning swim through the reflections in the Assiniboine River at The Forks Monday.     (WAYNE GLOWACKI/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS) Winnipeg Free Press  June 18 2012
  • Aerial view of Portage and Main, The Esplanade Riel, Provencher Bridge over the Red River, The Canadian Museum for Human Rights and The Forks near the Assiniboine River, October 21st, 2011. (TREVOR HAGAN/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS) CMHR

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Has the attack on Parliament hill shaken your faith in Canada's ability to protect its citizens from terrorist threats?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google