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Spokane company settles suit over teen’s death

Tue., June 23, 2009

Ambassadors Group Inc., a Spokane-based educational travel company, has settled a lawsuit filed by a Minnesota couple whose teenage son died during a June 2007 trip to Japan.

Terms of the settlement were not disclosed. The suit had been scheduled for trial next month.

Tyler Hill, a 16-year-old who had Type 1 diabetes, became ill on a climb of Mount Fuji. According to the complaint filed in Minnesota’s Hennepin County District Court in January 2008, Hill was left in a motel room, where he began vomiting blood and fell into a coma. He was taken to a hospital in Tokyo and died two days later.

Allen and Sheryl Hill alleged Ambassadors was negligent in not seeking medical care for their son, committed fraud and violated privacy laws. They were seeking more than $86,750 in costs and damages.

In a news release, Ambassadors said the company would not take a major financial hit as a result of the lawsuit.

President Jeff Thomas said the company was pleased that the dispute with the Hills has been resolved.

“We can see that there are steps that all of the (trip) leaders should have taken that could have prevented Tyler’s death,” Thomas said. “We continue to review all policies surrounding students with pre-existing conditions, including diabetes.

“We are very sorry for Tyler’s death.”

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