Eastern District of California Docket #: 1:13-cv-00298-AWI-SKO
Ah, Yosemite, home of my ancestors, beloved vacation spot, source of inspiration for millions around the globe, and unfortunately, the occasional host of some pretty nasty viruses. Once every so often you hear about deer tick disease or bubonic plague breaking out, but let’s face it, Yosemite is a federally designated wilderness area, emphasis on the “wilderness” part. Because it’s visited by millions each year, the risk of contracting a rare or semi-rare disease that you could only get in a wilderness area is probably going to rise a little. You’re probably assuming some sort of risk, no matter what the National Park Service has done to sanitize the place. In this case, the Hantavirus made an appearance in the summer of 2012 in Curry Village, infecting a handful of people and causing a little global scare as various people in different parts of the country came down with it after having stayed in Curry.
I, too, stayed in Yosemite during that summer, in Housekeeping Camp having an awesome time with my girlfriend (and soon-to-be fiance), and two of my friends from law school. I remember passing by Curry Village in a tram on our way to hike up to Vernal Falls. Like every other year that I’ve been to Yosemite I saw that Curry was packed with people, which, of course, could be a great breeding ground for a virus if the right conditions were met.
In this particular case, our plaintiff, who stayed in Curry during that fateful summer, caught the disease and racked up a few million in medical bills. She’s turning around and suing DNC Parks & Resorts for $3.25 million in damages. (Link). According to the complaint, the plaintiff, Cathy Carrillo, is alleging two causes of action: (1) premises liability/negligence and (2) strict products liability. Essentially, the plaintiff’s complaint boils down to the allegation that Delaware North Corporation, the owners of the cabins in Curry, knew or should have known that Hanta was or could’ve been lurking around the place at the time the plaintiff was staying at Curry’s tent cabins. In addition, DNC misled the plaintiff about the cabin’s safety. Plus, the plaintiff’s cabin itself was defective, allowing the Hanta-carrying rodents to infiltrate it, and spread the disease.
Right now, the pre-trial conference is set for July 23, 2013 in front of Magistrate Judge Oberto.