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Beekeeper loses personal injury suit

Earlier this week, a Delaware judge denied a beekeeper's negligence claims pertaining to an intense bee attack that he endured. 


Plaintiff, Douglas Sanders, an employee of a company that offers bee containment services, was called to a job in 2014, which left him stung hundreds of times. The incident began when a truck transporting honeybees from Maine to Florida, for a pollination company, crashed on an interstate ramp in Delaware. Expert help was sought in order to preserve the bees and mitigate the damages of the accident, which is when Sanders became involved. The ensuing bee attack was so severe that it caused him to develop an allergy to bee venom, and prevented him from continuing his work as a beekeeper.

Sanders sued both the trucking and pollination companies, seeking damages for his medical expenses and lost income. Unfortunately, his personal injury suit did not prevail in court. The ruling judge sided with the defense, agreeing that Sanders had voluntarily assumed the risk of being stung by agreeing to work closely with bees.

The voluntary assumption doctrine is frequently used to remedy negligence claims, and depicts situations in which a plaintiff enters into a situation 1) with the knowledge that the defendant will not safeguard him/her against certain risks or 2) with a known hazard, and proceeds in spite of it. In Sanders' case, he implicitly accepted the risk of being stung, and therefore the defendants were not liable for his resulting injuries and allergic condition.


Chase, Randall. (06 June 2017). "Beekeeper left allergic to bee venom after stings loses suit." Newstimes. Retrieved from: http://www.newstimes.com.

Massulli Reyes, Jessica. (26 May 2016). "Judge won't dismiss beekeeper's lawsuit over crash." The News Journal. Retrieved from: http://www.usatoday.com.

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