Courts Reject Lawsuit over Fatal Goring in Olympic, sort of…

A billy goat (male) at Heart Lake in Olympic NP. Photo by NPS

A billy goat (male) at Heart Lake in Olympic NP. Photo by NPS

On July 29, 2015, a women’s lawsuit over her husband’s 2010 death was rejected by a federal appeals court, as reported by the Peninsula Daily News.

The suit was about an incident where 63-year-old Robert Boardman was gored in the leg by a 370-pound goat. Boardman was not attempting to take a selfie with the animal, the reason several people have recently been gored in Yellowstone. No. He was trying to fight off the animal with a walking stick.

This goat had been harassing park visitors for years which was known to the staff. On this goring occasion, the goat stood guard over Boardman, not letting anyone aid the man as he was bleeding to death.

The vote to dismiss the case was 2-1 reasoning that park officials had discretion in deciding how to handle the problem goat.

The one disenting judge commented, “Letting an identified aggressive 370-pound goat threaten park visitors and rangers for years until it killed one amounted to a failure to implement the formally established park policy for managing dangerous animals,” Kleinfeld wrote. “Written park policy provided a series of steps for dealing with animals dangerous to park visitors, from frightening the animal away to removing or killing it.”

One of the attorneys is considering asking the 9th Circuit to rehear the case with a larger panel of jurists and to clarify the law.