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Thursday, 14 September 2017 00:00

A Boy Scout’s death has prompted his grieving parents to sue for wrongful death.

Written by Jonathan Druckman

A 15-year old boy died of heatstroke after collapsing in West Texas during a backpacking trip in June of this year.

Reid Comita was close to satisfying all the requirements necessary to become an Eagle Scout.  An Eagle Scout is the highest rank one can achieve in the Boy Scouting program and it carries a tremendous amount of prestige in the community. His parents said he had been earning badges since he began first grade. Reid signed up for a beginning or introductory backpacking course but soon found himself on difficult terrain in near hundred-degree heat. His parents thought he would receive two days of training before he ventured out onto the trial. He tragically collapsed in a remote area of the trail which made it extraordinarily difficult for paramedics to reach him in time. He was just a single merit badge away from becoming an Eagle Scout. The incident happened at the Buffalo Trail Scout Ranch in Texas.

His parents had this to say about the program that he was signed up for:

"I felt like he would receive the education that he needed to be able to do what was asked of him on an introductory hike. For what we had signed him up for, he was more than able.”

However, at the last minute, he was apparently moved to a more advanced level hiking group.  His parents are now blaming the Boy Scouts of America organization for wrongful death of their son. The complaint alleges that Boy Scouts of America went against their own set of rules by sending Reid out on the trail with two other boys, aged 14 and 18, instead of two adults. It appears from the initial set of facts offered, that the hike was improperly supervised, especially for an individual who had enrolled in the beginner level. The Boy Scouts of America said that they could not comment on the ongoing lawsuit but reiterated in a statement that safety is paramount to the core mission of the organization. Reid’s parents also allege that they were not notified of their son’s death for more than four hours. They were frantically calling trying to speak with anyone who had answers about his well-being.

There are many questions that hopefully will be answered as this lawsuit progresses. Chief among these questions are whether or not the Boy Scouts knew what kind of physical condition Reid was in, or if the hike was too rigorous.

Reid’s troop awarded him the merit badge posthumously and ultimately also awarded him the Eagle Scout Badge, which is the highest honor. As part of his final Eagle Scout project Reid was planning to build a playhouse and area for women and children that were experiencing a crisis in their lives. Members of the scouting community have planned to complete the project in his honor.

Reid’s father was also part of the Boy Scout community himself. But now he feels anguish over what has happened. “The Boy Scouts of America are responsible for my son’s death. It’s that simple.” Mr. Comita stated. The lawsuit demands $1 million.

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured due to improper supervision, you may have a claim.  Please call us anytime at 908 353-5850 for a free consultation.

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