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Family of NY teen swept to sea in Hawaii files lawsuit

By Jennifer Sinco Kelleher

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 12:55 p.m. HST, Aug 21, 2012

The family of a New York teen swept out to sea while hiking in Hawaii filed a wrongful death lawsuit today, claiming tour guides were negligent for leading a group of teenagers to dangerous area.

Tyler Madoff's body has not been found since the 15-year-old was swept off the west coast of the Big Island during a kayak expedition on July 4. The White Plains teen is presumed dead.

The death of Tyler, a Scarsdale High School student, was caused by the tour guides' "outrageously reckless and irresponsible decision" to lead the group from the "safety of the bay to the treacherous lava rock area," according to the lawsuit filed in federal court in Honolulu.

They were hiking near the Captain Cook monument at Kealakekua Bay when they stopped to rest at a tide pool, authorities said. The teens were led to an area that's out of a state permitted area despite dangerous surf warnings, according to the suit.

The family also claimed that the group team leader did nothing to help Tyler. The lawsuit said the man has a criminal history including disorderly conduct and marijuana possession, even though Colorado-based Bold Earth Teen Adventures claims its leaders undergo background checks.

The leader, identified in the suit as Andrew Mork, 22, of Wisconsin, couldn't be reached for comment.

Abbott Wallis, president and founder Bold Earth, said he hadn't yet seen the lawsuit. He previously called it a "freak accident" and said guides did all they could to help search for Tyler.

The local company contracted to lead tours, Hawaii Pack and Paddle, was also named as a defendant and couldn't immediately be reached for comment.


Associated Press writer Jennifer Peltz contributed to this report from New York.

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kainalu wrote:
Gotta say the family has a case.
on August 21,2012 | 01:05PM
allie wrote:
they do
on August 21,2012 | 02:54PM
Grimbold wrote:
Next thing you know they will sue the taxpayer eg State of Hawaii for allowing these people to come here.
on August 21,2012 | 01:22PM
kailua000 wrote:
unfortunately Hawaii is as letigious as the rest of the country. Hawaii people have sued on the mainland as well. However, as Kainalu said..family has a case, as stated, in this one.
on August 21,2012 | 01:51PM
hanoz808 wrote:
hopefully they stick to just suing them and not the state.
on August 21,2012 | 01:51PM
serious wrote:
When one sues, you name anyone who breathes next to the accused--it cost no more to the family, but it gives jobs to all the accused. That's how attorneys make money and people love them---you have to defend yourself---wonderful life!! Ever notice that all the federal D's are lawyers, both Obamas, both Clintons, etc
on August 21,2012 | 03:11PM
Grimbold wrote:
Lawyers have a stranglehold on this country. They suck us dry.
on August 21,2012 | 08:53PM
Mahalo wrote:
The states pockets are deeper. Very tragic but this is a true case and the family will most likely win. The problem with the state will be did it have enough signage warning to stay away, that is if the family seeks to go after the state. At this time it appears to be placing the "blame" on the company that was truly responsible for the well being of their son. Also how does someone with a criminal history pass a back ground check to be allowed to work with minors?
on August 21,2012 | 03:14PM
HAJAA1 wrote:
"Of course they will" were the first words said aloud when I read the headline, with a slight shake of the head and a wise grin. What has this world come to I ask. Nobody takes accountability for their OWN actions and OWN decisons these days. Pathetic.
on August 21,2012 | 03:38PM
asmkristy wrote:
I completely agree. The boy was old enough to know the risk involved when he went next to the ocean. I could see if the boy was too young to understand the risk involved but I don't think the family has a legitimate case. If the family wins I hope they only get enough money to cover the funeral cost and nothing more or else it will look like the family is just looking to make an easy buck of their son's death.
on August 21,2012 | 03:53PM
nomakeshame wrote:
So suing the company does what? It's not going to bring their son back, its just adding more misery to an unfortunate accident. Or more does it seem like the old "eye for an eye" concept? Where you hurt me and mine so I am going to do the same to you. By suing the company and whomever else, the boy's family just put a price on how much the boys life was worth to them.
on August 21,2012 | 03:59PM
gobows wrote:
100 million sounds good to me
on August 21,2012 | 04:04PM
pridon wrote:
Not likely to get much. Doubt the company had much liability coverage and insurance could refuse to pay if the company was violating the rules in the insurance contract - which seems likely. State may be at risk for no having posted proper warning signs, as with other recent and past cases. State will lose and pay.
on August 21,2012 | 07:42PM
Grimbold wrote:
WE are the dumbos who will pay, we are the state.
on August 21,2012 | 08:57PM
Chris458 wrote:
I believe that if you come to Hawaii, interact with the ocean, trails, cliffs & the like, you subject yourself to unwritten rules. Period. If I go skiing in Colorado, or white water rafting, the possibility exists that bad things could happen, & a lawsuit is only a moneymaker. However, my condolences go out to the victims family. I hope you find peace...........
on August 21,2012 | 09:44PM
Ewaduffer wrote:
Show me the MONEY!!!!
on August 23,2012 | 01:16PM
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