A video capturing Utah Boy Scout Leader Glenn Taylor toppling an ancient
rock formation in a state park recently went viral. In addition to conservationists
posting death threats online in response to the video, Taylor faces possible
charges from the State of Utah.
The video may also be used as evidence against Taylor, however, in a separate
and unrelated matter. Last month, Taylor filed a personal injury lawsuit
against a woman and her father for injuries he claims he suffered in a
car crash in 2009. The YouTube video, considered public property, may
be used as evidence to refute Taylor’s claims of a debilitating injury.
Personal Injury Lawsuit under Scrutiny
Taylor, of Highland, Utah, filed a lawsuit naming Alan MacDonald as the
defendant in September. In the suit, Taylor claims McDonald’s daughter
(then a minor) caused a 2009 car crash that left him with serious injuries.
The lawsuit further alleges that, due to the accident, Taylor injured
his back and was forced to “endure great pain and suffering, disability,
impairment, and loss of joy of life”. The suit clearly states that
the injuries were “debilitating”.
MacDonald said he was surprised by the lawsuit, as further investigation
showed that Taylor had not gone to the hospital following the 2009 accident.
No hospital invoices or acute treatment documents were referenced in connection
with the alleged “debilitating” injuries.
After watching the viral video of Taylor pushes a large boulder from its
perch, MacDonald explained to local members of the media that he feels
Taylor doesn’t look debilitated at all. MacDonald further explains:
“He’s climbing over other rocks, then he lines up, gets leverage,
and pushes that big old rock several times before he finally pushes it
over. Then he turns and twists and high-fives and yucks it up and flexes
his muscles. He just doesn’t look like a terribly disabled person
Responding to Criticism
Mark Stubbs, Taylor’s attorney, told local CBS News affiliates that
while the video may not be well-received by a jury, it’s only one
small piece of a much larger case. He also stated that just because his
client is recovering from his back injuries, does not mean he hasn’t
suffered past pain. Stubbs also noted that Taylor’s follow-up medical
bills in connection with the accident could continue for years. According
to his suit, Taylor has incurred some $5,000 in medical-related expenses.
In most courts, the term “debilitating” is typically associated
with injuries that require emergency hospital care and leave the victim
with significant, permanent physical limitations. A Utah jury will have
the final say over Taylor’s lawsuit and the validity of his claims.
With regard to the desecration of the State Park rock formation, The Boy
Scouts of America issued a statement branding the Scout leaders’
action as “reprehensible” and said it would take “appropriate
action” after an investigation and review of the matter.
Now facing possible charges, Taylor insists he and a fellow scout leader
took action to topple the rock because they believed it was unstable and
could have injured their Scouts and other park visitors.
Taylor has said he regrets his actions and agrees “there’s
a better way to treat the outdoors.”