The family of Tyler Madoff has filed a wrongful death lawsuit in Hawaii in response to the loss of their son while he was on an adventure trip on the Big Island of Hawaii on July 4, 2012. Madoff, age 15, was exploring a tidal pool at Kealakekua Bay on the southwestern side of the island when he and another boy were swept out to sea by a large wave. Though the other boy was rescued by a boat, Tyler disappeared and his body has still not been recovered. Tyler, a White Plains resident, was a student at Scarsdale High School due to begin his junior year in September. His mother, Marianne Madoff, is an employee of the district and worked as the Teacher-in-Charge at the Heathcote Elementary School.
The family is represented by N.Y. Attorney Susan M. Karten and the 38 page complaint was filed in Honolulu on August 21, 2012. It names Bold Earth Adventures America’s Adventures, Abbott Wallis, Andrew Mork, Kelsey Tyler, Hawaii Pack and Paddle, Barry Mims, Nolan Keola Reed and Letitia Mims.
The lawsuit alleges the following:
The trip leader, Andrew Mork, age 22, had a criminal history and showed “questionable character, poor judgment and a lack of responsibility to perform guardianship duties.”
Hawaii Pack and Paddle, who lead the expedition that day did not have a permit to go to the area of the Napoopoo lighthouse where the incident occurred.
The guides deviated from their prescribed itinerary and took the group to the “shore area around the Napoopoo lighthouse,” “a treacherous and off limits area which consisted of jagged and crater filled lava rock terrain with violent surf pounding and churning the coastal area waters on July 4, 2012.”
“ This outrageously irresponsible decision lead to the death of Tyler” and the excursion was in “complete breach and violation of the State of Hawaii regulations.”
The guides ignored dangerous tide, wave and surf warnings and advisories posted on local, regional, state wide and national surf information sources.”
When Tyler was struck by the waves and carried away, Mork “failed to act according to his alleged training and watched Tyler being swept away.”
The suit does not specify in the amount of the damage. Karten says that “"This lawsuit will shine a light on how teen tour companies operate." The claim can be accessed here.