Family Sues After Three Women Die In Bluff Collapse
A family has filed a lawsuit against a city after three of their loved ones died in a bluff collapse and were buried alive. The three women had gone to the beach to celebrate one of the women’s breast cancer remissions. While on the beach, the cliff collapsed burying the women alive.
The lawsuit blames the city for failing to address the dangerous cliff before it collapsed. The plaintiffs claim that had a controlled demolition of the cliff been performed, the three women would still be alive. Further, they failed to warn the public about the danger of the cliff despite having known about it beforehand. The women are suing the city, the state, and the local homeowner’s association in which the beach is located.
The city is asking the court to dismiss the charges against them on a technicality arguing that the case wasn’t filed properly. However, the previous attorney for the plaintiffs argues that they did exactly as they were instructed. So now, the court must determine whether or not the case was filed properly and whether or not the city misled the attorneys as to the proper means of filing the case.
Natural disaster lawsuits and acts of God
While you can’t sue God, you may be able to do the next best thing and sue the government. Technically, a natural ecological disaster is considered an Act of God just like inclement weather or a pandemic. Such things lie beyond the control of humans who can only mitigate the issues after the fact. In this case, humans failed to mitigate an issue that was a danger to the public. The beach should have either been closed off or a controlled demolition of the cliff should have made it safer for the public. As humans, we have the ability to determine such things before they happen. Acts of God thus become acts of negligence committed by humans.
After the relevant government bodies were alerted to the danger posed by the cliff (if in fact, they were as the plaintiffs allege) the government would have taken on a duty of care to ensure the public’s safety. Why this never happened until it was too late remains a mystery. However, it would have likely spurred vested parties to act if the beach was shut down until the matter was settled. In that case, we would have had the demolition prior to the women accessing the beach and they would still be alive.
The case is complicated. The government may not be liable under the rules of the state in which this occurred despite having foreknowledge. Suing the government can be tricky and it’s not always clear when the government has a duty to act and when they do not. This case will likely take years to untangle all of the legal knots that occur.
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