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Judging danger means legal liability?


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Once Groundspeak starts judging which caches are dangerous it puts them in the position of being liable for the caches left not archived because they didn't archive it due to danger.

This assertion was made on another thread. Rather than go off-topic there, I'll start a new thread.

 

Several other forum participants have made similar claims. I've never seen anyone provide a link or citation that supports this contention. Perhaps this is how urban myths begin.

 

If Groundspeak were to archive (or never publish in the first place) certain caches they deemed to be unacceptably dangerous, then why would this make them legally liable for the safety of all active caches? Groundspeak wouldn't be certifying that every active cache is safe for everyone to find. And it would be silly for Groundspeak to make such a claim, since reviewers don't visit every cache location.

 

Groundspeak will archive (and decline to publish) caches they know are placed illegally (e.g., on railroad right of ways). That doesn't mean they are legally liable if some active caches are placed illegally.

 

Similarly, many parks will warn visitors about bears in an area and even close certain trails and campsites. Does anyone really believe that makes them legally liable for any harm that happens to any park visitor? Of course not. Indeed, turning a blind eye to safety probably would expose park managers to legal liabilities. Here's an example where warning visitors about bears protected a park in a lawsuit.

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A legend or myth is not an urban legend or urban myth. Sorry, that is a pet peeve of mine, just like this topic is a pet peeve of yours.

From the source you kindly cited:

 

An urban legend...is a form of modern folklore consisting of stories usually believed by their tellers to be true.

I guess I don't understand your objection. Are you suggesting that people who make these claims about legal liability don't actually believe the claims are true? That would certainly explain a lot.

 

I sure would be interested in hearing why this is such a persistent issue for you. Any particular reason?

Some people seem to use this apparently incorrect claim as an excuse to ignore safety. They suggest Groundspeak shouldn't do anything about safety because it will expose them to lawsuits. I think it's an invalid excuse.

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Objective danger caches are fine, such as rappelling. There are others that have incidental danger, and when it is brought to their attention they do archive a few of them, such as caches hidden among live wires inside of a lampost; but on a case by case basis. If they are expected to pre check them for danger, then it does set a precedent, and could be open to liability if people expect it.

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It's been said over and over, but I have never seen any supporting legal citation. I would like to, just out of curiosity.

 

Groundspeak does not lack for legal advice however so I am assuming that this (evaluating danger opens the door to liability) is true.

 

I think the primary reasons they do not evaluate danger, however, is that Reviewers do not visit most caches and are not trained to evaluate danger if they did.

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If they are expected to pre check them for danger, then it does set a precedent, and could be open to liability if people expect it.

I don't think anyone expects Groundspeak to pre-check every cache for danger and certify that every active cache is safe for everyone to find. That would be silly, as I noted in my original post.

 

Are you suggesting Groundspeak would be open to liability even if they refused to publish some caches that they deemed to be unacceptably dangerous? If so, then it would be nice if you provided a link or citation to support this claim. It just doesn't make any sense to me and seems to contradict real life examples, as I noted in my original post.

 

Suppose a reviewer just happened to be in the neighborhood of a proposed cache and noticed it was hidden among live wires inside of a lamppost. Do you believe that declining to publish such a cache would expose them to legal problems?

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A legend or myth is not an urban legend or urban myth. Sorry, that is a pet peeve of mine, just like this topic is a pet peeve of yours.

From the source you kindly cited:

 

An urban legend...is a form of modern folklore consisting of stories usually believed by their tellers to be true.

I guess I don't understand your objection. Are you suggesting that people who make these claims about legal liability don't actually believe the claims are true? That would certainly explain a lot.

 

I sure would be interested in hearing why this is such a persistent issue for you. Any particular reason?

Some people seem to use this apparently incorrect claim as an excuse to ignore safety. They suggest Groundspeak shouldn't do anything about safety because it will expose them to lawsuits. I think it's an invalid excuse.

Yeah, but why does it bother you so much that some people may indeed be wrong? People are wrong about a LOT of things here, but I don't see you going to the same lengths to point those out.

 

As for my urban legends link... you need to continue reading. An urban legend is a particular, very unique sort of legend, and not simply a mistaken opinion. Why else do you think they added the "urban" adjective to the word "legend"? But I don't want to derail your thread with more chatter about that. My only point is that simply "legend" or "myth" is the word you wanted.

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As an adult I independently judge how dangerous any activity I'm about to engage in is. I don't need Groundspeak to tell me something is dangerous. I can get there and figure that out on my own as it's usually somewhat obvious once you get there.

I'm not aware of anyone suggesting that Groundspeak should prohibit all dangerous caches. Indeed, there are some activities, such as scuba diving or rock climbing, that might be dangerous to some and not so dangerous to others. As long as you're aware of those risks, then you can independently judge them.

 

But what about dangers of which you might be unaware, such as a cache hidden amongst live wires in a lamppost or surrounded by used needles in a dark hole? If Groundspeak is aware of those dangers, should they just ignore them?

 

What about dangers to other people besides yourself? If a power trail cache is hidden near a blind curve on a narrow mountain road with no shoulders, then a geocacher might decide it is worth the risk to park, jump out, and find the cache. But what about the occupants in the car coming around the blind corner? They didn't make the decision to put themselves in this dangerous situation.

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If a reviewer declined to publish a cache because he knew it was among live wires, it would not expose them to liability. Only if they made a habit of prechecking every one, which they don't, and cannot. If there are needles in the area, they cannot always be expected to archive it because it is not permanent and could occur anywhere. Every situation is a bit different. What specific situation are you trying to dance around?

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Because I use my logical skills I don't stick my hand blindly into holes or typically cache around things that produce electricity. I also wouldn't park or cache on a blind curve because as and adult I can look at that situation and think you know this isn't really safe or smart for me to do.

 

If someone lacks that ability to look at stuff like that recognize it's a bad choice that is no one's fault but their own. They don't need Groundspeak reviewers or the company in general to hold their hands because really they have bigger issues in life if they can't make a healthy choice.

 

Yes they should just ignore them and assume people will use their critical thinking skills and make better choices or learn by natural consequences. If someone is so lacking in foresight that they park or walk irresponsibly on a blind curve they are at risk. And if you stick your hand in a dark hold you may get bit or poked... there's not much hope for them in general real life.

 

And I know the next remark will be about children. I'm of the belief if one chooses to procreate and have children it is their responsibility to care for them. If they are going to engage in an activity which is outdoors which is inherently dangerous to children in itself then they need to use their logical thinking skills and protect their children and not expect the rest of us to bubble wrap the world and take the onus off of them to be a parent. People need to watch their own children. If that means holding their hand, walking them on a leash or in some other way making sure they don't run erratically and make stupid choices so be it.

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I agree that Groundspeak could create guidelines based on the danger to geocachers or the public without changing their liability should someone get hurt at a cache that got published anyhow. But I don't believe it is in their interest to do so. I believe the issue has more to do with how to determine what dangers are allowed and which not and in the case of those that are banned, how could reviewers could reasonably identify these conditions.

 

Clearly there are extreme geocachers who want to be able to hide/find scuba caches, rock climbing caches, caches in caves, caches in alligator infested swamps, etc. In some countries, caches hidden in old abandoned structure are popular. The legal issue of who owns these structure and what permission is needed to hide a cache there probably varies from country to country, but I see these are very popular in Europe where they seem to be legal. It would be hard to allow these dangerous caches and then forbid a cache because it is on an electrical box or close to a busy highway; especially if these are places where the public can legally be.

 

Wherever you draw the line there will always be disputes and the reviewers would be put in a similar position to one they were in when they had to decide what was "wow" enough to be a virtual cache. So Groundspeak has written guidelines that center primarily on the legality of the cache location as opposed to the danger. In addition, in the post 9-11 era, there are guidelines restricting the placement of caches near anything that might be considered a terrorist target.

 

The reason geocaching has no guidelines regarding safety has nothing to due with liability (IMO, IANAL) but has everything to do with having guidelines that are enforceable by volunteer reviewers in a somewhat consistent manner.

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If caches that were 'too dangerous' were not published, then caches that were published could be construed to be 'perfectly safe'.

If someone gets hurt hunting one of these 'perfectly safe' caches, then Groundspeak could be in a mmmmm, 'poor' legal position.

Considering that it is possible to slip , fall, and break your neck while visiting your own mailbox, it is probably true that there can never be a 'perfectly safe' Geocache.

 

If you drive a motor vehicle on public roads to get to the cache site, and you arrive safely, then the greatest danger is most likely already overcome.

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Space junk and meteorites can pose a real danger. If a cache is approved and someone gets hit by one of these, is GS liable? If, while doing a cache, someone finds a tract that leads them to join a cult that believes controlled substances put you closer to their grand poobah and they end up overdosing, is GS liable to the family for pain and suffering?

 

Why do we spend time on ridiculous hypothetical situations? If by liability you mean can they be sued, yes. I can sue you because I find the car you drive is offensive. Will I prevail? You may settle to save money or there may be a judge or jury that buys your argument.

 

As for some of the examples, if a reviewer knows there are live wires, most likely they will disable and or archived out of common sense, not legal ones.

 

I agree the OP seems somewhat obsessed with this subject. Is there something more to the story?

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But what about dangers of which you might be unaware, such as a cache hidden amongst live wires in a lamppost or surrounded by used needles in a dark hole? If Groundspeak is aware of those dangers, should they just ignore them?

 

why would you reach in where you can't see?

 

 

What about dangers to other people besides yourself? If a power trail cache is hidden near a blind curve on a narrow mountain road with no shoulders, then a geocacher might decide it is worth the risk to park, jump out, and find the cache. But what about the occupants in the car coming around the blind corner? They didn't make the decision to put themselves in this dangerous situation.

 

you can't possibly be serious with that example, unless i am reading it the wrong way...are you saying that anyone else other than the stupid driver be held liable ?...the passengers are welcome to sue the driver, nobody else is responsible

Edited by t4e
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As an adult I independently judge how dangerous any activity I'm about to engage in is. I don't need Groundspeak to tell me something is dangerous. I can get there and figure that out on my own as it's usually somewhat obvious once you get there.

I'm not sure what this has to do with the OP...

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As an adult I independently judge how dangerous any activity I'm about to engage in is. I don't need Groundspeak to tell me something is dangerous. I can get there and figure that out on my own as it's usually somewhat obvious once you get there.

I'm not sure what this has to do with the OP...

 

it has everything to do with the OP...GC can't be held liable for people's stupidity, that's what the Darwin award is for

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Making a logical assertion in the form of a personal opinion should never be equated to creating urban myths.

 

As far as I know, the reviewers only make judgements about the safety of caches based on information in front of them and apparent online during the review and/or when a land owner/manager expresses concerns.

 

If they started making a habit of making those judgements based on some written 'guide' then any similar cache clearly becomes a liabilty issue when/if somebody gets injured and a lawyer gets involved.

IMHO.

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I could almost swear that TPTB, Jeremy himself, I believe, made a forum post addressing this exact subject, and not all that long ago. But for the life of me, I can't seem to find it. Either my memory is wrong, it was written in a disappearing font, or my search efforts are simply failing. Most likely its my memory failing me, though. But if anybody else remembers it or can turn it up, I would love to see it.

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I could almost swear that TPTB, Jeremy himself, I believe, made a forum post addressing this exact subject, and not all that long ago. But for the life of me, I can't seem to find it. Either my memory is wrong, it was written in a disappearing font, or my search efforts are simply failing. Most likely its my memory failing me, though. But if anybody else remembers it or can turn it up, I would love to see it.

 

there are hardly any posts of his left, all but a couple of pages is available :blink:

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The reason geocaching has no guidelines regarding safety has nothing to due with liability (IMO, IANAL) but has everything to do with having guidelines that are enforceable by volunteer reviewers in a somewhat consistent manner.

 

I am that I agree that this is *the* reason but it is certainly a practical reason for why there are not guidelines regarding safety.

 

In order to enforce such a guideline, every submitted cache would require a visit by the reviewer (unless the reviewer just accepts the word of the person submitting the cache that it is "safe"). Whether the reviewer or the cache submitter is making the determination there would likely be no consistency as there is no consistent definition of "safe". It just make much more sense (to me) to let the finder determine whether or not retrieving a specific cache poses a substantial risk.

 

A responsible cache owner will, however, make it clear in the cache listing when they feel that there is a substantial risk involved. Doing so is especially important when the dangers are not easily apparent. If a cache is located on the side of a steep cliff the dangers and risks involved in attempting to retrieve it are obvious. However, a cache located in a "bad part of town" might look perfectly safe to someone unfamiliar with the area.

 

I recall a cache that was placed along an urban creek that required a canoe or kayak. From photos that the CO posted it was a moving water, probably no more that a class I rating on the AWA (American Whitewater Association) scale. However, in one of the photos it showed the CO and a friend in a canoe just above what appeared to be a low head dam. They were not wearing PFDs, nor helmets. Every whitewater kayaker/canoeist I know *always* wears a PFD and a helmet when paddling moving water. Low head dams can be extremely dangerous but appear relatively innocuous. In this case, the risks may be relatively low but the consequences could be high, and form someone that doesn't know anything about paddling moving water, not very obvious.

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I could almost swear that TPTB, Jeremy himself, I believe, made a forum post addressing this exact subject, and not all that long ago. But for the life of me, I can't seem to find it. Either my memory is wrong, it was written in a disappearing font, or my search efforts are simply failing. Most likely its my memory failing me, though. But if anybody else remembers it or can turn it up, I would love to see it.

Are you thinking of a Keystone post?? I remember a somewhat authoratative one recently??

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I could almost swear that TPTB, Jeremy himself, I believe, made a forum post addressing this exact subject, and not all that long ago. But for the life of me, I can't seem to find it. Either my memory is wrong, it was written in a disappearing font, or my search efforts are simply failing. Most likely its my memory failing me, though. But if anybody else remembers it or can turn it up, I would love to see it.

Are you thinking of a Keystone post?? I remember a somewhat authoratative one recently??

 

Possibly. Sometimes I think they are one and the same, anyway. After all, Jeremy Irish does sound a bit Leprechaun-ish, if you know what I mean.:P

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This is the problem with society, in general, today. We do not accept responsibility for our own actions. We want to blame others for being overweigth (i.e. McDonald's, Coca-Cola, etc.) or taking on a task that we are not mentally and/or physically capable of completing.

 

I am overweight...that is my fault, not the small-time convenient store owner trying to make a small amout of money, nor the large-scale snack food venders. I know my limits...I can choose to or not to go beyond those limits. In either case, as I take on the task, I continually evaluate the situation and leave all options open: continue forward, change my approach, or back-out. I learned this from my parents, who learned it from their parents, who...

 

Its not Groundspeak or anyone associated with the process of establishing a cache to certify its safeness. The individual geocacher (including a parent geocacher) needs to evaluate the situation before setting out for the cache, during the search, and even after the find when posting a log or giving advise to fellow geocachers.

 

But you will say, what about your boss asking you to complete a task at work? Make a choice. If you did not train for it and are not prepared for it then don't do it. Your boss might be raving mad at you, but he will be happier if he does not have to pay for workers-compensation or for you disability. If you were trained for it, then do it or quit. There are other more responsible want-to-be employees waitng in line for your job and pay.

 

So, if there is a cache 65 feet underwater, under the dash of a sunken Cesna (D/T: 5/5), and after the CO warns SCUBA skills are a necessity: either don the appropriate gear, use the correct methods, and have fun or beg you spouse for Diver Training or just ignore the posting.

 

Get with it people. This is a non-issue.

 

[P.S. I hope TrailBlazer will see my point of view and allow me the opportunity to learn SCUBA diving. Until then I will wait on the side and watch those better trained than I get the :) ]

 

Once Groundspeak starts judging which caches are dangerous it puts them in the position of being liable for the caches left not archived because they didn't archive it due to danger.

This assertion was made on another thread. Rather than go off-topic there, I'll start a new thread.

 

Several other forum participants have made similar claims. I've never seen anyone provide a link or citation that supports this contention. Perhaps this is how urban myths begin.

 

If Groundspeak were to archive (or never publish in the first place) certain caches they deemed to be unacceptably dangerous, then why would this make them legally liable for the safety of all active caches? Groundspeak wouldn't be certifying that every active cache is safe for everyone to find. And it would be silly for Groundspeak to make such a claim, since reviewers don't visit every cache location.

 

Groundspeak will archive (and decline to publish) caches they know are placed illegally (e.g., on railroad right of ways). That doesn't mean they are legally liable if some active caches are placed illegally.

 

Similarly, many parks will warn visitors about bears in an area and even close certain trails and campsites. Does anyone really believe that makes them legally liable for any harm that happens to any park visitor? Of course not. Indeed, turning a blind eye to safety probably would expose park managers to legal liabilities. Here's an example where warning visitors about bears protected a park in a lawsuit.

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If caches that were 'too dangerous' were not published, then caches that were published could be construed to be 'perfectly safe'.

Why? When parks close trails they deem to be "too dangerous," nobody assumes all the other trails are "perfectly safe." As I noted (and linked) in my original post, parks expose themselves to legal liabilities when they do NOT warn people of dangers.

 

If someone gets hurt hunting one of these 'perfectly safe' caches, then Groundspeak could be in a mmmmm, 'poor' legal position.

Care to provide a link or citation to support this claim? I'm sure many parks would be interested to learn about this legal liability. Does this liability also apply to illegally placed caches? Groundspeak rejects some caches that they determine are illegally placed. Can we therefore construe that all their active caches are "perfectly legal?" And is Groundspeak liable?

 

Considering that it is possible to slip , fall, and break your neck while visiting your own mailbox, it is probably true that there can never be a 'perfectly safe' Geocache.

No argument there. Which is why, if Groundspeak rejects/archives one cache as unacceptably dangerous, it would be silly to assume they consider all active caches to be safe. Furthermore, Groundspeak representatives don't inspect each cache. Plus, conditions change. Groundspeak wouldn't be certifying caches as safe, just rejecting certain caches as unacceptably unsafe.

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What about dangers to other people besides yourself? If a power trail cache is hidden near a blind curve on a narrow mountain road with no shoulders, then a geocacher might decide it is worth the risk to park, jump out, and find the cache. But what about the occupants in the car coming around the blind corner? They didn't make the decision to put themselves in this dangerous situation.

you can't possibly be serious with that example, unless i am reading it the wrong way...are you saying that anyone else other than the stupid driver be held liable ?...the passengers are welcome to sue the driver, nobody else is responsible

Perhaps you're reading it the wrong way. A geocacher illegally parks on a narrow road with no shoulder near a blind corner. A car driven by a non-geocacher comes around that blind corner and collides with the illegally parked car. Do you really think the non-geocacher driver is completely responsible for this accident?

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Making a logical assertion in the form of a personal opinion should never be equated to creating urban myths.

If you reread the original post, you'll see the statement wasn't being offered as a personal opinion but rather as a matter of fact:

 

Once Groundspeak starts judging which caches are dangerous it puts them in the position of being liable for the caches left not archived because they didn't archive it due to danger.

 

As far as I know, the reviewers only make judgements about the safety of caches based on information in front of them and apparent online during the review and/or when a land owner/manager expresses concerns.

I don't know of anyone who has suggested that reviewers should make judgements based on information they don't have. I certainly have never made such a silly suggestion.

 

If they started making a habit of making those judgements based on some written 'guide' then any similar cache clearly becomes a liabilty issue when/if somebody gets injured and a lawyer gets involved.

IMHO.

If Groundspeak rejects some illegally placed caches, then do they become liable for similar illegally placed caches that might slip through? If so, then why do they expose themselves to this alleged liability?

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What about dangers to other people besides yourself? If a power trail cache is hidden near a blind curve on a narrow mountain road with no shoulders, then a geocacher might decide it is worth the risk to park, jump out, and find the cache. But what about the occupants in the car coming around the blind corner? They didn't make the decision to put themselves in this dangerous situation.

you can't possibly be serious with that example, unless i am reading it the wrong way...are you saying that anyone else other than the stupid driver be held liable ?...the passengers are welcome to sue the driver, nobody else is responsible

Perhaps you're reading it the wrong way. A geocacher illegally parks on a narrow road with no shoulder near a blind corner. A car driven by a non-geocacher comes around that blind corner and collides with the illegally parked car. Do you really think the non-geocacher driver is completely responsible for this accident?

 

my reply above clearly states who is to blame, the geocacher driver illegally parked....i don't even think there can be an argument who's to blame in the situation you describe

 

but you are not exactly stating your opinion on it, who do you think is to blame?

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When parks close trails they deem to be "too dangerous," nobody assumes all the other trails are "perfectly safe."

As someone who deals with the public, in parks, on a daily basis, I can assure you that many folks do make that exact assumption. Words to the effect of, "Of course it's safe. It's a public park. They would tell us if it were unsafe" are bantered about every single day.

 

Care to provide a link or citation to support this claim?

I would love to see a link or a citation that directly refutes such a claim.

Specifically, a judgement rendered in a US civil court.

 

Does this liability also apply to illegally placed caches?

You keep confusing civil and criminal liability. You are comparing apples to llamas.

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If caches that were 'too dangerous' were not published, then caches that were published could be construed to be 'perfectly safe'.

Why? When parks close trails they deem to be "too dangerous," nobody assumes all the other trails are "perfectly safe." As I noted (and linked) in my original post, parks expose themselves to legal liabilities when they do NOT warn people of dangers.

I'm not so sure that you can fairly compare a park system with a private business.

 

http://www.legalmatch.com/law-library/article/personal-injury-liability-public-parks.html

In part:

Can Local Governments Be Held Liable for Injuries to People In Public Parks?

It depends. The majority of states consider public parks to be part of the local government?s job of promoting the health and welfare of the general public. As a result, these states consider public parks to be a government activity, which prevents liability for any injuries that occur on the premises.

 

In contrast, a good number of states require local governments to keep public parks reasonably safe for patrons, and impose liability in the case of injury. Many of these states consider public parks to be a permissive (i.e. optional) benefit given by local government, which necessarily obliges them to keep the parks well-maintained and free from significant dangers.

 

 

Edited by knowschad
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So, if there is a cache 65 feet underwater, under the dash of a sunken Cesna (D/T: 5/5), and after the CO warns SCUBA skills are a necessity: either don the appropriate gear, use the correct methods, and have fun or beg you spouse for Diver Training or just ignore the posting.

 

Got a GC code for that one? :D

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So, if there is a cache 65 feet underwater, under the dash of a sunken Cesna (D/T: 5/5), and after the CO warns SCUBA skills are a necessity: either don the appropriate gear, use the correct methods, and have fun or beg you spouse for Diver Training or just ignore the posting.

 

Got a GC code for that one? :D

 

To sue, you would have to show negligence. So if I cache was placed in the middle of a busy highway, and GS had ample information and opportunity to understand the danger, and approved it anyway, then you may be able to prove negligence. Whether or not they approve/deny caches based on danger doesn't really make a difference.

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Whether or not they approve/deny caches based on danger doesn't really make a difference.

Some would argue that if Groundspeak created a scale involving the degree of hazard present at any particular cache, with fluffy bunnies at one end and mutant zombie space aliens hordes at the other end, drawing a line somewhere in between denoting that those on this side of the line are safe whilst those on the other side are dangerous, they could be placing themselves in a position of expertise. By assuming that position, Groundspeak could conceivably be held accountable for any injuries incurred at caches that they, in their expert opinion, have deemed safe.

 

(and no, I don't have a link or a citation) :rolleyes:

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If caches that were 'too dangerous' were not published, then caches that were published could be construed to be 'perfectly safe'.

Why? When parks close trails they deem to be "too dangerous," nobody assumes all the other trails are "perfectly safe."

Considering that it is possible to slip , fall, and break your neck while visiting your own mailbox, it is probably true that there can never be a 'perfectly safe' Geocache.

No argument there. Which is why, if Groundspeak rejects/archives one cache as unacceptably dangerous, it would be silly to assume they consider all active caches to be safe.

 

It would be silly, yes but in today's litigious society I sure wouldn't bet against some lawyer somewhere trying to make that exact assumption on behalf of a whiny "it can't be my own fault" client.

 

That's all sort of moot anyway, though. As others have said, I don't think the issue is legal in nature anyway. It comes down to this: "Define Too Dangerous".

 

"Dangerous" to whom? For an experienced mountaineer a cache on a summit but literally be a walk in the park, but for an inexperienced city dweller it might be too dangerous. Is a cache alongside a busy highway too dangerous to publish?

 

Reviewers were already in the uncomfortable position of judging "wow" when it came to publishing Virtual caches. Why does this one have enough "wow" when this one doesn't? Let's not make that sort of mistake again.

 

Groundspeak doesn't judge caches on the danger factor. Whether that is for legal reasons or not doesn't really matter. The real question to ask is "Would we want them to?"

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So, if there is a cache 65 feet underwater, under the dash of a sunken Cesna (D/T: 5/5), and after the CO warns SCUBA skills are a necessity: either don the appropriate gear, use the correct methods, and have fun or beg you spouse for Diver Training or just ignore the posting.

 

Got a GC code for that one? :D

 

To sue, you would have to show negligence. So if I cache was placed in the middle of a busy highway, and GS had ample information and opportunity to understand the danger, and approved it anyway, then you may be able to prove negligence. Whether or not they approve/deny caches based on danger doesn't really make a difference.

 

not even close, if that were true the Urban Psycho series would have never been published...and here is one of them Psycho Urban Cache #9 - Hot Glowing Tribulations

 

so this whole thread is really barking up the wrong tree...bottom line is that GS is not liable

Edited by t4e
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Hi All, As you can see I'm new to geocaching but I do have an opinion. When will people start taking responsibility for their own actions? I look at Groundspeak as being a guide to caching. I know my limits and I am experienced in the areas I search for caches (I didn't realise there were so many in my own regular stomping ground). I've only done a few caches, but some locations I have walked away from as I didn't feel they were safe for my family, not necessarily unsafe or dangerous to other cachers depending on their experience of the particular surroundings. As I said I'm only learning but I can look after myself and my own. Nobody is making me do this!

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What about dangers to other people besides yourself? If a power trail cache is hidden near a blind curve on a narrow mountain road with no shoulders, then a geocacher might decide it is worth the risk to park, jump out, and find the cache. But what about the occupants in the car coming around the blind corner? They didn't make the decision to put themselves in this dangerous situation.

you can't possibly be serious with that example, unless i am reading it the wrong way...are you saying that anyone else other than the stupid driver be held liable ?...the passengers are welcome to sue the driver, nobody else is responsible

Perhaps you're reading it the wrong way. A geocacher illegally parks on a narrow road with no shoulder near a blind corner. A car driven by a non-geocacher comes around that blind corner and collides with the illegally parked car. Do you really think the non-geocacher driver is completely responsible for this accident?

my reply above clearly states who is to blame, the geocacher driver illegally parked....i don't even think there can be an argument who's to blame in the situation you describe

In your above reply, it wasn't clear to me whether you were blaming the geocaching driver or the non-geocaching driver. I'm glad you weren't blaming the non-geocaching driver, though. Do you now see how dangerously placed caches can harm innocent people?

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not even close, if that were true the Urban Psycho series would have never been published...and here is one of them Psycho Urban Cache #9 - Hot Glowing Tribulations

 

so this whole thread is really barking up the wrong tree...bottom line is that GS is not liable

 

Negligence "is a failure to exercise the care that a reasonably prudent person would exercise in like circumstances."

 

They published a dangerous cache with large obvious warnings about the danger of getting it. Therefore, no negligence. If they published that cache, knowing full well the danger, but knowingly approved it without any warnings, that would be negligent.

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When parks close trails they deem to be "too dangerous," nobody assumes all the other trails are "perfectly safe."

As someone who deals with the public, in parks, on a daily basis, I can assure you that many folks do make that exact assumption. Words to the effect of, "Of course it's safe. It's a public park. They would tell us if it were unsafe" are bantered about every single day.

Poorly phrased on my part. Since there are some people who believe the world is flat, I'm sure some people also would assume all the other trails are "perfectly safe." But I doubt that this assumption would get them very far in a court of law.

 

Care to provide a link or citation to support this claim?

I would love to see a link or a citation that directly refutes such a claim.

Specifically, a judgement rendered in a US civil court.

Have you ever noticed that manufacturers place warning labels on chainsaws and warning notes in chainsaw user manuals? Do you think warning people about these dangers makes them liable for accidents that result from using screwdrivers or pliers? Providing appropriate warnings reduces the manufacturer's liabilities -- it doesn't increase it. Here's a link to some general information and a citation to a specific U.S. civil court case.

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Whether or not they approve/deny caches based on danger doesn't really make a difference.

Some would argue that if Groundspeak created a scale involving the degree of hazard present at any particular cache, with fluffy bunnies at one end and mutant zombie space aliens hordes at the other end, drawing a line somewhere in between denoting that those on this side of the line are safe whilst those on the other side are dangerous, they could be placing themselves in a position of expertise. By assuming that position, Groundspeak could conceivably be held accountable for any injuries incurred at caches that they, in their expert opinion, have deemed safe.

 

(and no, I don't have a link or a citation) :rolleyes:

Why am I not surprised that you don't have a link or citation? As far as I can tell, nobody else has provided a link or citation to support this silly legal theory, either.

 

If Groundspeak rejects certain unsafe caches, they aren't guaranteeing or certifying the safety of all other caches. They hardly can render expert opinions on caches they don't visit, especially when the safety of those locations can change from day to day.

 

Nor has anybody suggested that cache safety can be rated on a linear scale. While Groundspeak would likely approve high-risk caches whose dangers are obvious, such as SCUBA diving or rock climbing, they might reject certain caches with risks that are less obvious, like electrical wires or used needles. They might be especially hesitant to publish caches that put non-geocachers in danger, like power trails on narrow roads with blind curves.

 

Edited to add: You've stated that you warn people about the risks involved in searching for your more dangerous caches. Do you believe this places you in a "position of expertise?" By assuming that position, could you "conceivably be held accountable for any injuries incurred at caches that [you], in [your] expert opinion, have deemed safe?"

Edited by CanadianRockies
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Groundspeak doesn't judge caches on the danger factor. Whether that is for legal reasons or not doesn't really matter. The real question to ask is "Would we want them to?"

Groundspeak reviewers make judgement calls all the time. Is this cache too close to a school? Is it buried? Does it destroy or deface property? Is it likely to be around three months from now? Has adequate permission been obtained? Is this location a likely terrorist target?

 

So, yes, I would prefer that Groundspeak also make judgement calls based on danger. Not to reject dangerous caches where the risks are obvious but to reject certain caches where the risks are non-obvious.

 

Would you prefer that Groundspeak waits until accidents (perhaps fatal accidents) occur on a power trail along a narrow road with blind curves or hills? If Groundspeak is aware of these risks, shouldn't they be proactive?

 

What if somebody placed a cache in an extremely radioactive zone and declined to warn potential searchers about this danger? If Groundspeak knew about this risk, shouldn't they decline to publish the cache?

 

Certainly in situations that rise to the level of gross negligence, I would hope reviewers exercise common sense and take danger into consideration.

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What about dangers to other people besides yourself? If a power trail cache is hidden near a blind curve on a narrow mountain road with no shoulders, then a geocacher might decide it is worth the risk to park, jump out, and find the cache. But what about the occupants in the car coming around the blind corner? They didn't make the decision to put themselves in this dangerous situation.

you can't possibly be serious with that example, unless i am reading it the wrong way...are you saying that anyone else other than the stupid driver be held liable ?...the passengers are welcome to sue the driver, nobody else is responsible

Perhaps you're reading it the wrong way. A geocacher illegally parks on a narrow road with no shoulder near a blind corner. A car driven by a non-geocacher comes around that blind corner and collides with the illegally parked car. Do you really think the non-geocacher driver is completely responsible for this accident?

 

my reply above clearly states who is to blame, the geocacher driver illegally parked....i don't even think there can be an argument who's to blame in the situation you describe

In your above reply, it wasn't clear to me whether you were blaming the geocaching driver or the non-geocaching driver. I'm glad you weren't blaming the non-geocaching driver, though. Do you now see how dangerously placed caches can harm innocent people?

 

you don't really think i would have referred as "the stupid driver" to the non-geocacher, do you?

 

as for you second question...no, i don't...the fact that a cache is there is incidental, if the said geocacher has no common sense its his and only his fault, its not the CO's fault, also someone can very well stop in that blind corner to go pee, or take a picture or whatever....

 

 

not even close, if that were true the Urban Psycho series would have never been published...and here is one of them Psycho Urban Cache #9 - Hot Glowing Tribulations

 

so this whole thread is really barking up the wrong tree...bottom line is that GS is not liable

 

Negligence "is a failure to exercise the care that a reasonably prudent person would exercise in like circumstances."

 

They published a dangerous cache with large obvious warnings about the danger of getting it. Therefore, no negligence. If they published that cache, knowing full well the danger, but knowingly approved it without any warnings, that would be negligent.

 

i know exactly what negligence is....your example doesn't support your argument

Edited by t4e
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I would love it if a tort lawyer would weigh in on this subject.

 

I am not a lawyer.

 

Let me say that again: I am not a lawyer.

 

Those of you with more knowledge of the law than I possess might find that these links shed some light on the subject:

 

http://www.washburnlaw.edu/wlj/40-3/articles/leadstrom-nathan.pdf

 

This article says that publishers generally do not have a duty to verify that the information they publish is accurate, with a notable exception:

Case law provides that an exception to the general no duty rule

arises when the publisher voluntarily assumes the duty to investigate by

guaranteeing, warranting, or endorsing the publication.47 For example,

in Hanberry v. Hearst Corp., the court imposed liability on Good

Housekeeping magazine for injuries sustained by a person injured as a

result of wearing “slip-proof” shoes advertised in the magazine and

given the “Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval.” The court held

that the endorsement created a duty to investigate the safety of the

product and accuracy of the advertisement because of the reliance it

induced.

 

As a non-lawyer, that sounds to me as if it could imply that Groundspeak, by adding safety criteria to the review process, would be endorsing the safety of the caches it publishes. And this, indeed, would increase their liability as described in the quote. If Groundspeak says "we only publish caches that are safe," then they have assumed a duty which otherwise would not exist, and could be sued for negligence when they failed in that duty. And to a jury, "we didn't publish this cache because we thought it too dangerous" is exactly the same thing as "we only publish caches that are safe." Therefore, better for them to simply state clearly in the guidelines and TOS that they don't review caches for safety.

 

Another article which may be useful is this:

http://tinyurl.com/6l876a7

 

I'm sure that article would be quite interesting, but as I am not a Lexis subscriber, I am not interested in purchasing the article to find out.

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Those of you with more knowledge of the law than I possess might find that these links shed some light on the subject:

 

http://www.washburnlaw.edu/wlj/40-3/articles/leadstrom-nathan.pdf

 

This article says that publishers generally do not have a duty to verify that the information they publish is accurate, with a notable exception:

Case law provides that an exception to the general no duty rule

arises when the publisher voluntarily assumes the duty to investigate by

guaranteeing, warranting, or endorsing the publication.47 For example,

in Hanberry v. Hearst Corp., the court imposed liability on Good

Housekeeping magazine for injuries sustained by a person injured as a

result of wearing “slip-proof” shoes advertised in the magazine and

given the “Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval.” The court held

that the endorsement created a duty to investigate the safety of the

product and accuracy of the advertisement because of the reliance it

induced.

 

As a non-lawyer, that sounds to me as if it could imply that Groundspeak, by adding safety criteria to the review process, would be endorsing the safety of the caches it publishes. And this, indeed, would increase their liability as described in the quote. If Groundspeak says "we only publish caches that are safe," then they have assumed a duty which otherwise would not exist, and could be sued for negligence when they failed in that duty. And to a jury, "we didn't publish this cache because we thought it too dangerous" is exactly the same thing as "we only publish caches that are safe."

Thanks for providing the link. It's the best anyone has come up with so far, even if it doesn't really address the issue at hand.

 

According to your link:

The “Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval” carried with it the following certification: “We have satisfied ourselves the products and services advertised in Good Housekeeping are good ones and the advertising claims made for them in our magazine are truthful.”

I don't think anybody is suggesting that Groundspeak should certify that "we only publish caches that are safe." But if they did decide to explicitly endorse the safety of caches, then they might expose themselves to legal liability in the way you suggest.

 

And to a jury, "we didn't publish this cache because we thought it too dangerous" is exactly the same thing as "we only publish caches that are safe."

I'm afraid that's faulty logic. If I don't eat lunch today because I'm too busy, that doesn't mean I only eat lunch when I'm not busy.

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And to a jury, "we didn't publish this cache because we thought it too dangerous" is exactly the same thing as "we only publish caches that are safe."

I'm afraid that's faulty logic. If I don't eat lunch today because I'm too busy, that doesn't mean I only eat lunch when I'm not busy.

 

It is most certainly faulty logic. That wouldn't stop a plaintiff's attorney from making the argument. And it sure wouldn't stop a jury from accepting the argument.

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I would love it if a tort lawyer would weigh in on this subject.

 

 

that will not suffice...now since GS is located in USA we can limit their liability to their country of residence but here's where the problems become magor...each of the 50 states is a separate sovereign free to develop its own tort law under the Tenth Amendment, so first you would have to determine if their liability extends beyond Washington State, where the HQ's are

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How much more are we going to rehash this issue?

Several people have commented on how nice it would be if people took more responsibility for their actions. I don't think the topic title is misleading. Nobody forced you to click on this thread. If you aren't interested in this kind of discussion, then you're free to ignore it. Problem solved.

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Here's a link to some general information and a citation to a specific U.S. civil court case.

So... I guess the answer to my question is "No, Clan. I don't have any links or citations that would refute those claims. But I do have some that have very little to do with the question at hand! Lemme see if I can sneak them past you."

Thanx! :rolleyes:

 

Why am I not surprised that you don't have a link or citation?

Why are we not surprised that you don't have a link or citation either?

So far, the only difference I see between your opinion and mine is you are willing to pretend your opinion is fact. :rolleyes:

 

You've stated that you warn people about the risks involved in searching for your more dangerous caches. Do you believe this places you in a "position of expertise?" By assuming that position, could you "conceivably be held accountable for any injuries incurred at caches that [you], in [your] expert opinion, have deemed safe?"

If I ever find a cache that is "safe", perhaps this conversation would have some relevance. :huh:

Till then, I suppose you could continue stuffing in more straw. The scarecrow is getting a bit thin. <_<

Edited by Clan Riffster
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Some would argue that if Groundspeak created a scale involving the degree of hazard present at any particular cache, with fluffy bunnies at one end and mutant zombie space aliens hordes at the other end, drawing a line somewhere in between denoting that those on this side of the line are safe whilst those on the other side are dangerous, they could be placing themselves in a position of expertise. By assuming that position, Groundspeak could conceivably be held accountable for any injuries incurred at caches that they, in their expert opinion, have deemed safe.

 

You've stated that you warn people about the risks involved in searching for your more dangerous caches. Do you believe this places you in a "position of expertise?" By assuming that position, could you "conceivably be held accountable for any injuries incurred at caches that [you], in [your] expert opinion, have deemed safe?"

If I ever find a cache that is "safe", perhaps this conversation would have some relevance.

You seem to think the assertion you make is relevant to Groudspeak's liability. Why wouldn't it also be relevant to yours? Goose. Gander.

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