Settlement Handed Down For Fall

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The University of Iowa will have to pay a former student $75,000 after he fell 40 feet from the school’s climbing wall in 2012 and suffered serious injuries, including two crushed vertebrae in his spine, according to The Guardian.

The climbing wall at the University of Iowa.  Photo: Athletic Business By Kun Zhang, Dimension Images
The climbing wall at the University of Iowa. Photo: Athletic Business By Kun Zhang, Dimension Images

From The Gazette:

Spencer Bean, who was both a UI student and university recreational services employee assigned to the climbing wall, fell off the 52.5-foot wall in the Campus Recreation and Wellness Center on Nov. 8, 2012.

He filed a lawsuit in June of 2014 accusing the university of negligence for, among other things, failing to properly supervise the apparatus, test equipment and train climbers. The State Appeal Board on Tuesday approved a $75,000 settlement with Bean, who in exchange agreed to drop his case against the university.

Bean, who was 21 at the time of his fall, described the incident in his lawsuit, explaining he was not working at the time and was “lead climbing” with a partner — relying on that person to belay him. As Bean neared the top of the wall, he fell 30 to 40 feet to the ground, landing on his feet, according to the lawsuit.

Following Bean’s accident, the university in 2012 closed its climbing wall and conducted an internal investigation. The inspection determined neither the wall nor its components contributed to the fall — although it didn’t establish a cause.

Risk Management officials did, however, suggest the university make some changes before reopening the wall, including mandating stricter training and testing policies, updating camera equipment, re-evaluating what non-UI equipment is allowed, and communicating to users that they are responsible for those devices.

The wall reopened Jan. 22, 2013.