A couple of weeks ago, a moose wandered onto the Brigham Young University campus in Provo, Utah and caused a stir. The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources responded to deal with the situation and drugged the errant moose. After it was drugged, the moose fell on two cars in a campus parking lot.
Yesterday, ABC News 4 in Salt Lake City reported that the state is refusing to pay for the approximately $3,000 worth of damage to the two vehicles, even though a biologist at the scene told one car owner that the state would pay for the damages. The Director of the Utah Division of Risk Management now says that an investigation into the matter revealed that the biologists who drugged the moose did not act in any negligent way. In other words, wild animals will be wild animals. So there.
It is hard to argue, however, that the moose would not have fallen on the cars if the biologists had not drugged it. While the biologists may have acted properly when they tranquilized the moose, it seems that as between the two, the state should step up and take responsibility for the damage rather than telling the car owners to pound salt.
Bret Hanna of Wrona DuBois in Utah, focuses exclusively on litigating plaintiffs’ medical malpractice and catastrophic personal injury cases. He has represented clients in state and federal courts, in mediations, and in administrative proceedings in Michigan and Utah since 1991.