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    Teen hit with $25,000 rescue bill

    Date: 05.05.10 | by Judge Tom.

    Scott Mason was an Eagle Scout and skilled outdoorsman. In April, 2009,  he got lost hiking Mount Washington in New Hampshire. The 17- year old spent three nights out in the cold and snow. He survived by building a rock shelter and using his hand sanitizer to start fires to stay warm.


    New Hampshire is one of eight states that has a law allowing the state to bill a rescued person the cost of recovery (Hawaii, Oregon, Maine, California, Vermont, Colorado and Idaho are the others). Scott received a bill for $25,734. The state claimed that he was negligent in going off the path.

    After reconsideration, the state announced in April, 2010, that it would not pursue the bill. Scott’s family paid $1,000 – but were unable to afford the rest. The state noted that Scott was going off to college and that this incident was not due to recklessness. Most states with the rescue bill law don’t enforce it.

    Judge Tom

    This post was written by Judge Tom. Judge Tom is the founder and moderator of AsktheJudge.info. He is a retired juvenile judge and spent 23 years on the bench. He has written several books for lawyers and judges as well as teens and parents including the recently published 'Teen Cyberbullying Investigated' (Free Spirit Publishing). When he's not answering teens' questions, Judge Tom can be found hiking, traveling and reading.

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