The story: The Montana Supreme Court this week decided that a nature park worker who was mauled by a grizzly bear in 2007 should get workers' compensation — even though he was high on marijuana at the time. The man, Brock Hopkins, admitted he smoked a joint before deciding to feed the animals at Great Bear Adventures, a privately run park where black bears and grizzlies roam outdoors. While Hopkins was in the bear enclosure, a grizzly named Red attacked and severely injured him. His initial workers' compensation claim was denied. The owner of the park, Russ Kilpatrick, said Hopkins doesn't even really work there, but was more of a helper he gave money to "out of his heart." The state Supreme Court disagreed, saying Hopkins was hurt while doing work for Kilpatrick, so he deserved to be compensated for his injuries. Hopkins' altered state, the court said, didn't matter, because grizzlies are "equal-opportunity maulers."
The reaction: "Smoke dope. Feed grizzlies. Get mauled. Collect worker's comp," says Gwen Florio at Cops and Courts. Is this a great country, or what? Well, the Montana Workers' Compensation Court did characterize Hopkins' actions as — in their words — "mind-bogglingly stupid," says Eric Schwartz at the Daily Inter Lake. The justices just decided that "marijuana use was not a major contributing cause of his injuries." Stoned or sober, when it's you vs. a grizzly, the grizzly wins. Every time.
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