LOGAN — The personal injury case between a Paradise hunting guide and the Boy Scouts of America is moving closer to trial after a judge previously ruled that the case could proceed. Craig Bingham filed the lawsuit in 2016, claiming he was blinded in the left eye by birdshot during a 2014 hunting trip.
Court records show, Bingham was in 1st District Court Thursday morning, participating in a telephone pretrial conference. He is suing for damages, claiming the scout group failed to exercise reasonable care in the handling of their firearms and hunt in a safe manner.
In March 2014, Bingham was working as a hunting guide for Sportsman’s Paradise. He was standing on a small hill, behind the group when a number of pheasants were flushed from cover. As the birds took off, the hunters began firing their shotguns in different directions. He was struck by three pellets, in the left eye, hand and thigh.
During a prior hearing, defense attorneys said what happened to Bingham was a terrible accident, but there was no evidence of who fired the shot that hit the plaintiff. They explained to the court, the defendant, who was supposed to be the professional guide, did not follow all of the rules, including wearing safety glasses. He also gave very little safety instructions to the boys and put himself in a position to possibly be harmed.
Bingham’s attorneys have argued, it was obvious that someone in the scout group shot their client. They explained a jury should be presented with all of the evidence, to determine who was responsible.
The nine hunters were from a Boy Scout Crew in Huntsville.
The case was scheduled for a 10-day jury trial in June but will now be postponed due to changes in the court and safety precautions. Earlier this year, the presiding judge, Thomas Willmore retired and his replacement has not been confirmed. Restrictions because of the COVID-19 pandemic could also be a factor.
During Thursday’s pretrial conference, Bingham’s attorneys said they would prefer postponing the jury trial until Judge Willmore’s replacement takes the bench. They agreed to appear again in court June 24 for review hearing.