Family of Utah boy with Down syndrome drops discrimination lawsuit against Boy Scouts

(Chris Detrick | The Salt Lake Tribune) Chad Blythe hugs his son Logan, 15, during an interview at VF Law in Salt Lake City Friday, March 16, 2018.

A Utah family who sued the Boy Scouts of America for policies they say discriminated against their son, who has Down syndrome, is withdrawing the lawsuit after the Scouts said they would work with the family to help the boy earn his Eagle Scout award, attorneys announced Wednesday.

Attorneys for Logan Blythe’s family met with national Boy Scouts representatives on March 27, said attorney Alyssa Wood, who represented the Blythes alongside her colleague Ted McBride.

During the meeting, the group “offered us resources that are available to help Logan earn the Eagle Scout award in a way that is possible for him,” according to a news release from the law firm.

McBride and Wood didn’t elaborate on what “resources” the Scouts offered, though Boy Scouts of America spokeswoman Effie Delimarkos has previously told The Salt Lake Tribune that Logan, who is 15, could earn badges via alternate requirements and that the Scouts would allow him to work for those even after he turned 18, when Scouts are normally no longer eligible to try for the Eagle Scout award.

According to the release, the Scouts still recognize Logan’s merit badges.

Attorneys filed the lawsuit on March 13 after local Boy Scouts officials approved, and then, the next day, suspended Logan’s Eagle Scout project. Logan’s parents, Chad and Diane Blythe, of Payson, sued for a minimum of $1 and for Logan to be reinstated and accommodated within the Scouts.

Despite having limited verbal skills and developmental delays, Logan, with the help of his parents, worked for years to earn enough merit badges to meet the threshold to become an Eagle Scout, the highest rank in the Scouts.

The lawsuit, filed in 4th District Court, argued that the scouting group suspended Logan’s Eagle Scout project because, according to the national organization, he hadn’t completed the merit badge requirements to qualify “as written.” Instead, Logan did the requirements as best he could.

The Blythes’ attorneys claimed the organization had effectively nullified all the merit badges Logan had earned since graduating from a Cub Scout to a Boy Scout. Without those badges, which family doubted Logan could ever earn based on the his abilities and the written requirements, he couldn’t try for the Eagle Scout award.

“Since Logan now has a path to the Eagle Scout rank, there is no reason to pursue legal action,” the release states.

The Boy Scouts of America had released a statement on March 20 saying they would accommodate Logan and any other Scout who wanted to advance in the group.

McBride told the Tribune on Wednesday that he was happy with how the case concluded, saying it accomplished its two goals: getting Logan back into and accommodated within the Scouts, and clarifying national policies to help other similarly able Scouts.

Delimarkos said “confusion was at the heart of this issue,” and that the Scouts want to help Logan become an Eagle Scout.

“Moving forward, we are committed to avoiding this type of misunderstanding and will take appropriate steps to ensure it is known that Scouts with disabilities are welcome, celebrated and empowered through Scouting,” Delimarkos said.