Recreational Use of Land and Water Act Denies Claim

Posted on: June 26th, 2012       Attorney Thomas Newell

A 2008 Decision of the Superior Court of Pennsylvania affirmed a Lackawanna County Trial Judge’s decision to dismiss a boy’s personal injury lawsuit.  He had driven his motorbike on a company’s property that was mostly undeveloped.  The real estate had areas of brush and trees that were transected by dozens of trails used by local residents for recreational purposes.

The PA personal injury victim crashed into a gate suffering a cerebral concussion and multiple fractures requiring surgeries.  His parents sued based on the legal theories of negligence and attractive nuisance.  The Defendant pled statutory immunity under the Recreational Use of Land and Water Act (RULWA).  The RULWA provides immunity for owners of undeveloped land who open that land without charge for recreational use by members of the public.

The Appeals Court noted that the gate was erected to discourage dumpers and/or vandals.  There was no evidence to prove ongoing maintenance/improvements to the property.  Therefore, the defense of the Recreational Use of Land and Water Act was appropriate.  Stanton v. Lackawanna Energy LTD, 951 A.2d 1181 (PA Super. 2008)

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