Suit over fatal Wash. ice cave collapse dismissed

Associated Press

SEATTLE (AP) — A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit over a Washington state ice cave collapse that killed an 11-year-old girl in 2010.

Grace Tam was killed as she posed for a picture the Big Four Ice Caves in the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. Her parents, John Tam and Tamami Okauchi, sued the National Forest Service, saying it failed to adequately warn visitors about dangerous snow formations at the caves.

The caves are a popular attraction, and the Forest Service had posted signs at a trail kiosk warning visitors to stay away. But another sign near a trail leading to the caves was missing. A replacement sign had recently been ordered, but it had not been posted because the Forest Service didn't immediately have the staff available.

U.S. District Judge James L. Robart ruled Friday that the Forest Service is immune from lawsuit because its action involved a discretionary function that shouldn't be second-guessed by the courts.

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