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Man Topples Boulder in Utah, Sues in Unrelated Injury Case

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Posted on October 24, 2013

Updated on October 16, 2023

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’s lawyer file 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 the car accident 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 to me.”

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.”


CBS News