Large Jury Award in death of 9 year old Camper

A jury awarded $5 million dollars over the death of Sam Schubert when he was pinned under his canoe on a camp river trip. The Houston Chronicle reported the case in Trial in canoeing death of boy, 9, begins that the boy was at Camp Ozark and on a canoe trip when he was trapped in a strainer. The article pointed out the leader of the canoe trip was not certified in canoeing. The reported the jury awarded more than $5 million Summer Camp Found Negligent in Boy’s Death.

This is another example where marketing programs are creating lawsuits. The outdoor industry is running around madly attempting to get new business and at the same time hold itself out as safe. The word certification is touted as the end all be all of that issue. Here because the canoe trip leader was not certified, then the camp had to be at fault.

English: Canoeing on the Shenandoah River.

Image via Wikipedia


The American Canoe Association, ACA has been teaching canoeing for almost 100 years. They also teach people to teach canoeing. They call the people who pass its canoe teaching course as certified. They not offer certification for anything else. They do have courses in any other aspects of canoeing and kayaking, and they don’t certify anyone in those disciplines.

The trial in this case was appealed to the Texas Appellate Court NO. 14-02-00723-CV, Ozark Interests, Inc., d/b/a Camp Ozark and Ozark Boys Club, and R. Sam Torn, appellants v. Allen Schubert and Majorie Schubert, individually and on behalf of the Estate of Samuel Schubert, a minor, deceased, Appellees. However the appeal was dismissed because the case was settled. No additional information can be found, but usually this means the parties negotiated a deal, usually for less than the jury award.

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One Comment on “Large Jury Award in death of 9 year old Camper”

  1. Bruce Williams says:

    The ACA offers courses called “trip leader skills assessments”. Those who pass are registered with the ACA as trip leaders. The ACA reserves the term “certification” for those who pass an Instructor Certification Workshop. I noticed that SouthEast Expeditions, which is doing a China trip, advertises that their guides are “certified ACA Coastal Kayak Day Trip Leaders.” They probably should call them “registered ACA Coastal Kayak Day Trip Leaders”. I could not find any use of “certified” in connection with the trip leader skills assessment program.


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