Camp organizers sued by drowned Vancouver teen's estate

By Paris Achen, Columbian courts reporter

Published:

 

The estate of a Vancouver teen who drowned during a summer camp in Oregon last July has sued the camp's organizers for $13 million.

The suit alleges that organizers of Experience the Valley Summer Camp endangered Caleb Jordan Justice, 15, when they took him on a walk behind a waterfall on July 9, 2012, to go swimming in White River Falls near Maupin, Ore.

Justice slipped into the surging water and drowned. Justice's camp counselor, Brett McLean, 26, of Portland drowned while trying to rescue the boy.

The plaintiff, Douglas M. Fellows, also claims that camp organizers were negligent in not requiring children to wear life jackets for swimming or walking near "dangerous bodies of water," according to the suit filed Tuesday in Multnomah County Circuit Court by Portland attorney John Coletti.

Justice was attending the weeklong camp as part of a youth group from River Rock Church in Camas.

Youth Dynamics, the primary camp activity organizer, River Rock and other participating churches are named as defendants. The other churches include Grace and Glory Community Church, the Gateway Community Church of Washougal, Trinity Fellowship of Portland, Laurelwood Baptist Church of Vancouver, Harvest Community Church, Warehouse Christian Church and Bethel Community Church of Washougal.