Wood Smith Henning & Berman (WSHB), a prominent national law firm, is thrilled to announce a momentous victory for its client in a high-profile wrongful death case. The case, which tragically involved the untimely demise of a 15-year-old girl in an ATV accident, was successfully defended by WSHB trial attorneys, Graham Miller and Caroline Hopkins.

The incident occurred in the Clatsop County Forest, a popular forest that is frequented by both the public and ATV enthusiasts. Regrettably, the young girl fell from a 20-foot drop off on the side of a stockpile in a quarry, resulting in her unfortunate demise. The quarry had been utilized by logging contractors, for road construction purposes within the forest.

"This case exemplifies the delicate balance between Oregon's commitment to public access of its lands and the rightful protection of landowners, while simultaneously ensuring the safety of individuals utilizing these lands," stated Graham Miller, the lead trial attorney representing the defense. "Although it was a common occurrence for ATV riders to navigate the stockpiles, the court rightfully acknowledged that this did not absolve the logging contractors from the protections afforded by the statute."

Oregon has enacted a recreational immunity statute, designed to safeguard landowners who generously open their land to the public, with an explicit exception for cases involving intentional injury. Although the quarry was not officially part of the designated trail system, it was a common practice for ATV riders to traverse the stockpiles.

Despite the State's awareness of prior accidents at the same stockpile, they chose not to erect warning signs based on a favorable appellate ruling in a similar case several years prior. Subsequently, the plaintiff amended her complaint, alleging an intentional tort against the State due to its failure to warn about the stockpile. However, the logging contractors were unaware of these past incidents.

Recognizing the significance of the case, the logging contractors promptly filed Motions for Summary Judgment, citing Oregon's recreational immunity statute, which extends its protection to contractors responsible for the possession and maintenance of the land. The State also filed a Motion for Summary Judgment.

In a remarkable turn of events, the court granted the logging contractors' Motions for Summary Judgment, affirming that the quarry was indeed open to the public and that the recreational immunity statute unequivocally applied to the contractors. The court has taken the State's Motion for Summary Judgment under advisement, implying the potential for further legal ramifications.

WSHB trial lawyer Caroline Hopkins added, "While we are pleased with the favorable outcome for our client, we acknowledge the profound tragedy of this incident and extend our heartfelt sympathies to the family of the young girl."

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