Family of Chance Nash files revised claim

A new lawsuit has been filed against the Duncan Park Trust and its trustees in the 2009 sledding death of an 11-year-old Nunica boy. Diane Nash filed the lawsuit in Ottawa County 20th Circuit Court on April 27 on behalf of the estate for her son, Chance Aaron Nash.
Becky Vargo
May 8, 2012


The lawsuit asks for more than $25,000 in damages, claiming negligence by the park trustees in allowing sledding in Duncan Memorial Park, which is located between Sheldon Road and Lake Avenue in Grand Haven. It also requests a trial by jury.

The Duncan park trustees named in the lawsuit are Ed Lystra, Rodney Griswold and Jerry Scott.

The lawsuit claims that the trustees were also negligent in maintaining the grounds by not removing dead branches from commonly used sledding areas.

Nash was sledding with family members in the park on Dec. 31, 2009, when he struck a branch of a fallen tree. He was taken to North Ottawa Community Hospital, and then transferred to a Grand Rapids hospital, where he later died from internal injuries.

A previous lawsuit — filed in January 2011 against the park trustees and the city — was dismissed this past January. That lawsuit claimed that the park commission breached its duties in maintaining the park in general, and the sledding hill in particular, “in a reasonably safe condition for use by children and the other members of the public for sledding." The suit claimed that it was the commission’s responsibility to remove dead trees and branches from the area “on or near the sledding hills.”

Ottawa County Circuit Judge Jon Hulsing ruled that the park’s commission was a government entity, under the city of Grand Haven, making it immune from the lawsuit — said the Nash family attorney, John Tallman of Grand Rapids. Tallman said he tried to amend the lawsuit so that it targeted the Duncan Park Trust, and the park trustees individually, but that also was denied.

Tallman filed an appeal on that lawsuit in March, which is currently in process, and nothing has been done since the filing, he said Thursday.

"We’re a long way from the end,” Tallman said.

Tallman said the new lawsuit is similar to the previous one, but eliminated the park commission as a defendant. “It’s the same lawsuit, just different parties," he said. "Well, different names for the same parties."



Would it not be a good idea for everyone who plans to use this sledding place to go out there in the fall before the snowfalls and help clear the area for their own safety or the safety of their children? I am sorry for the loss of this child but lawsuits are not going to bring him back and a better way to honor the loss would be to form cleanup meetings in the park to ensure the debris is cleared before the next snowfall!


really is this going to bring the young man back? I know this is harsh but were the parents not negligent for letting him sled on the hill? Did the parents review the sledding area and determine that the hill was safe before he started sledding? You know it's not always "somebody elses fault". If that's the case sue God for putting the tree there, then letting it fall down.


What a joke. I am going to go walk past their house and walk into a tree in their yard and sue them. I bet this family is already on government aide. This is the sad reality of the world we now live in. THANKS Nash family...i hope they laugh you out of the court room. Go buy a mirror and you will see who was negligent !


You are honestly the JOKE!


This comment goes to Truthhurts

I know the family personally and I find it very rude for what you said in your comment. I hope and pray that the family wins this case, Due to the fact that Duncan Woods is NOT A SAFE PLACE BY ANY MEANS FOR SLEDDING!!

For you all to sit there and make rude comments such as these, You are the ones that will be judged in the end!!!!!!!!!!!


RIP Chance! You are missed dearly and loved more then anything <3


The reality is they were sledding in the woods. It's simply not a sanctioned sledding spot nor will it ever be. As sad as the incident is, it will be an even bigger shame if this causes years of family fun and memories to come to a close. This is a natural area and it will never be deemed "a safe place by any means for sledding". However, a lot of people have done it and will continue to do it knowing the risks involved. There are just some things that don't need a sign to say it could be dangerous. The forest surrounding the area should be self sufficient.


I honestly hope that it does get shut down. That's the difference it's a PARK, For walking dogs, walking on the trails. It's not a sledding area. It should be deemed for NO sledding, no matter how many people get mad about it. SHUT DUNCAN DOWN FOR SLEDDING!!


I was supportive of the family the first go around even though I didn't agree with it. But now it is just nonsense. If you feel that Duncan Woods is not a safe place to sled, then you probably shouldn't let you kids go sled there right? yep, you have the New Yorker mentality.


For these reasons, I don't live in Michigan anymore. People like you! And my children never went sledding there ever, BECAUSE IT ISN'T SAFE AT ALL. SHUT DUNCAN DOWN!

What the family is doing is not nonsense, None at all. They are doing the right thing! I will stand behind them 100%

I really hope that someone in grand haven is smart enough and says yes lets shut Duncan down because it is not safe and NEVER WILL BE

You just showed the world how heartless you really are!


you said it yourself. it is not a safe place for sledding, yet they took the risk and now want to sue because of it, its just wrong. people need to take responsibility for there own actions instead being sue happy about everything. just like the guy suing the beer company a year later because he got hit with a beer cap.

i sledded there and snowboarded a lot there when i was a kid. if i got hurt it would be my fault my parents would never sue over someething like that


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