Boy Scouts Suit Dropped

Posted: September 03, 1989

A Huntingdon Valley man has decided to drop a lawsuit against the Valley Forge Council of the Boy Scouts of America, according to Doylestown lawyer Robert J. Gleason.

John Vassollo of the 300 block of Welsh Road dropped his lawsuit against the Valley Forge Council of the Boy Scouts of America last week, Gleason said.

Vassollo filed the suit in Montgomery County Court in July 1988, claiming $20,000 in punitive damages and unspecified damages of $40,000 after he broke his ankle when he and his son, Matthew, were leaving a camping trip held on the Boy Scouts Delmont Scout Camp, in Green Lane.

Vassollo could not be reached for comment.

"This is basically an American family, who has done their good deed of the day," Gleason said. "These are good people, and they voluntarily decided to drop this suit."

Gleason also said that the adverse public opinion created by the suit prompted Vassollo to drop the suit.

"Mr. Vassollo would like to have this whole affair behind him," Gleason said. "He and his family do not want to do anything that will irreparably harm the Boy Scouts."

According to the lawsuit, the poor conditions at the camp were responsible for the broken right ankle Vassollo suffered while trying to leave.

In the suit, Vassollo said that he and his son were leaving the site

because of the dirty and unsafe conditions at 11:20 p.m. on July 26, 1986.

According to the suit, "The negligence of the defendants consisted in permitting defective, unsafe and dangerous conditions to exist on the campgrounds . . . without providing light to unsafe areas and safety rails on inclines or hills during foreseeable times such as night and rainy weather."

Al Smith, executive director of the Valley Forge Council, said that more than 10,000 scouts and leaders use the 750-acre camp each year. The camp is primarily used by troops in Montgomery and Delaware Counties, Smith said.

"We use that facility extensively year-round," Smith said. "This is the first time I know of that somebody filed a suit against us."

"We are obviously pleased that the suit was dropped," he added.

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