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peanutbutterandjelly


Sep 11, 2002, 4:44 PM
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I keep on hearing that places are closed because the owners of the land are worried about liability. I was wondering if anyone knows of any cases that land owners where sued or other actions taken against them by climbers that where injured? I have not heard of any cases that I can remember.
Todd


tenn_dawg


Sep 11, 2002, 8:37 PM
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It dosen't really matter if there have been any cases yet or not. You have to remember that it only takes one incident to financially RUIN a landowner.

Imagine the field day lawyers (hereafter referred to as "shitdogs") would have if some kid got hurt, maimed, or died on someones property. It's total BS, but they could easilly sue for Millions of dollars. I'm talking Big league liability here. ESPECIALLY if the landowner knew people were climbing and did not care.

The shitdogs have made it the landowners responsibility to assure that everyone on his property is safe. Any injury that takes place on his property, wether it be from falling into a swimming pool, or falling off a cliff, can be considered neglegence on his part.

My neighbors have a huge field behing their house. Some kid on a 4-wheeler was riding around in it, and got in a wreck. Broke his arm, and messed him up pretty bad. Guess who's fault the shitdogs said it was. Guess who got sued. Guess who had to pay for all the medical expences.

They had never met the kid before, but didin't care that people were riding back there. Really nice people i think. The shitdogs think otherwise.

Travis


daisuke


Sep 11, 2002, 8:40 PM
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ahhhh... the wonder that is the US legal system...

*cough*sarcasm*cough*

I personally think it's bull for someone to do it, but if overweight ppl can sue mcdonalds for making them overweight then anything in the world can happen.

still... you have to be a piece of crap person in the first place to sue someone when you know it's your own boneheaded fault or terrible luck that you fell and bust your arm or something like that. If you mess up... then you face your responsibility and take it like a man (or woman, depends on which one you are) pay the consequences for your actions and don't bring others down with you, no honor at all in that

[ This Message was edited by: daisuke on 2002-09-11 20:49 ]


Partner rrrADAM


Sep 11, 2002, 8:53 PM
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The owner of Reimer's Ranch was sued a few years back. Now you have to sign a waiver, which is fair enough.

But for someone to sue because they hurt themselves while climbing only hurts climbing. But some people are greedy, and want something for nothing, with no thought of the expense of others.

It seems that greedy people sueing has become the American Way.


thrillseeker05


Sep 11, 2002, 9:03 PM
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this whole topic bugs me.. and yes it is true the American way is to have pathetic law suits to get gains from your own stupidity.... thus it will always be a liability and it only takes one suit to clean house.
sucks but true.


climbingcowboy


Sep 11, 2002, 9:03 PM
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 Theres a big boulder in Camarillo by a park the boulder is on useless none used land a few people used to climb there alot until some dumbass fell and got hurt and sued the land owner, then they had waviers made the same happened again and they had to go back to court now no one is aloud out there they'll chase you off they did me and highclimber.
I understand their reasoning, I tryed to get the Acsess Fund involved but they never wrote me back.


climber1


Sep 11, 2002, 10:37 PM
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it's just that people don't want to take reponsibility for their own f***ups. it's easier to sue than blame themselves.


ajkclay


Sep 11, 2002, 11:08 PM
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I live in Adelaide, South Australia, and over here the Government is looking at legislation involving activities of 'assumed risk,' which basically means that if you are participating in an activity that you would reasonably know is potentially dangerous, and subsequently are injured, then you cannot hold anyone like a landowner responsible because you made the decision to take the risk. This may also apply to places like gyms, where, unless the accident is as a direct result of faulty equipment supplied, it's your problem.
Cool huh?

[ This Message was edited by: ajkclay on 2002-09-11 23:10 ]


roughster


Sep 12, 2002, 12:16 AM
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Actually California Public Land is covered as well:

http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/calaw.html
CALIFORNIA CODES GOVERNMENT CODE SECTION 830-831.9
831.2. Neither a public entity nor a public employee is liable for an injury caused by a natural condition of any unimproved public property, including but not limited to any natural condition of any lake, stream, bay, river or beach.

831.7. (a) Neither a public entity nor a public employee is liable to any person who participates in a hazardous recreational activity, including any person who assists the participant, or to any spectator who knew or reasonably should have known that the hazardous recreational activity created a substantial risk of injury to himself or herself and was voluntarily in the place of risk, or having the ability to do so failed to leave, for any damage or injury to property or persons arising out of that hazardous recreational activity. (b) As used in this section, "hazardous recreational activity" means a recreational activity conducted on property of a public entity which creates a substantial (as distinguished from a minor, trivial, or insignificant) risk of injury to a participant or a spectator. "Hazardous recreational activity" also means: (1) Water contact activities, except diving, in places where or at a time when lifeguards are not provided and reasonable warning thereof has been given or the injured party should reasonably have known that there was no lifeguard provided at the time. (2) Any form of diving into water from other than a diving board or diving platform, or at any place or from any structure where diving is prohibited and reasonable warning thereof has been given. (3) Animal riding, including equestrian competition, archery, bicycle racing or jumping, mountain bicycling, boating, cross-country and downhill skiing, hang gliding, kayaking, motorized vehicle racing, off-road motorcycling or four-wheel driving of any kind, orienteering, pistol and rifle shooting, rock climbing, rocketeering, rodeo, spelunking, sky diving, sport parachuting, paragliding, body contact sports (i.e., sports in which it is reasonably foreseeable that there will be rough bodily contact with one or more participants), surfing, trampolining, tree climbing, tree rope swinging, waterskiing, white water rafting, and windsurfing. For the purposes of this subdivision, "mountain bicycling" does not include riding a bicycle on paved pathways, roadways, or sidewalks....


fishypete


Sep 12, 2002, 1:06 AM
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So basically the government has covered its own ass (i.e. public land) and ignored all the people.

Great.


tenn_dawg


Sep 12, 2002, 4:40 AM
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The gunks is a public area, isin't it? Most popular climbing areas are. Landowner liability is a big reason for this.

If the incident takes place on public land, the person who hurt themselves can be considered a partial owner. Isin't that how it works? We're paying for it after all. I think that's how the Gov. came to make the law stated above. You can't sue yourself for hurting yourself on your own land.

Makes sence to me.
Travis


tradguy


Sep 12, 2002, 6:39 AM
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I like aforementioned description of laywers. To be fair, though, like any people, there are honest, reasonable lawyers, and then there are slimeballs. The real problem is the judges that allow these cases to be heard. If people knew they would get shot down, they wouldn't even bother to try, and it would never be a problem. What we really need is a federal "dumbass" law that prohibits people from sueing others for their own stupidity, and allows those being sued to counter sue to recover their expenses of defending themselves against the "dumbasses".


bitsofsod


Sep 12, 2002, 8:02 AM
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There are permissive use statutes in most states, which are designed to relieve private landowners from liability if they open their land to recreational uses. These statutes do not prohibit lawsuits, anybody can bring a lawsuit (sue) over anything, but they do afford landowners a great deal of protection. Unfortunately, New York's permissive use statute, General Obligations Law section 9-103, does not specifically mention rock climbing, and a quick computer search of New York's reported court cases revealed only one case addressing an injury incurred while rock climbing. The case was dismissed because the landowner had no liability for obvious conditions ("it is also well settled that property owners are not required to enclose natural geographical phenomena which present 'open and obvious, in contrast to latent, dangers'").

Climbing is dangerous, those who climb accept that risk, relieving the landowner of liability. However, if the conditions are unreasonably dangerous by some hidden defect (i.e., unmarked wire cable stretched across a road that clotheslines an ATV driver) then the landowner may face some liability. Otherwise, the doctrine of assumption of risk applies to bar recovery.

Ordinarily, landowners have insurance and the insurance companies defend the landowner. The landowner may have a deductible or a dollar limit upon his/her insurance and will generally only be personally liable for those amounts (plus any additional representation he or she wishes to defend against recovery in excess of the policy limit). Subsequently, the landowner may face an increased premium or a refusal to insure by the insurance company. Coupled with the stress of the lawsuit, this makes many landowners reluctant to open their property.

There are many forces at work here, including statutes, common law (law from prior cases), insurance companies, judges, juries, injured (or dead) people, landowners and lawyers. Please take the time to understand the principles and how society apportions liability, then work to change what you feel should be changed.


overlord


Sep 12, 2002, 8:02 AM
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i havent heard of anything like that. couldnt the owners just put up a sign saing that you are responsible for what you do on their rock?? or leave a book behind so anybody that clibms would sign a liability vaiwer??? but since in your caountry you can sue almost anybody, i cant blaim them. USA is really a parody for legal systems.

CLIMB ON


micronut


Sep 12, 2002, 12:00 PM
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I read of a case in one of the mags about someone trying to sue a city(Austin,Tx I believe) because there was no signage stating that climbing was dangerous. The judge threw out the case, saying "the fact that climbing up a cliff is dangerous is totally apparent"
As far as being a partial owner on public lands, all that is changing with the "Fee Demo" program makes you and I a customer on "Our" lands. Fight the fees!!


tenn_dawg


Sep 12, 2002, 1:29 PM
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Outstanding statement Bitsofsod,

Your post was one of the most clear and informative, yet not overly wordy posts I have ever read here. My own posts were speculation, but I just had to say something to get this topic rolling.

It's great to see an intelligent and informative post on this website. Has anyone noticed that there can be alot of crap here. I know jt512 would agree with me.

Great job.
travis


jgill


Sep 12, 2002, 8:41 PM
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Splendid answer, Bitsofsod! I hope you continue contributing to these forums, especially where legal questions arise.


arlen


Sep 13, 2002, 12:02 AM
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There are also cases where the term "rock climbing" gets applied to other, less rigorous activities, like scrambling on talus, sport rapelling, etc. That's what shows up in the reports, and thus it's what landowners sensibly prohibit. Unfortunately it takes a lot of advocacy and education (in no small part done by attorneys for the Access Fund) to keep crags open to climbing.

It also doesn't hurt to abide by bothersome rules like signing registers, getting passes and parking in designated spots.




bitsofsod


Sep 13, 2002, 5:09 AM
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heh, thanks guys! not bad for a sh*tdog, eh?


chadplusplus


Sep 13, 2002, 7:41 AM
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Well, the base issue here is that some lands are closed because the land owners are scared of being sued. As noted in the eloquent post by bitsofsod, laws exist in some places to protect these land owners. Unfortunately, I doubt most land owners know these laws exist. Without knowledge of the aforementioned protection, I too would be terrified of liability suits. Hopefully, this is where the Access Fund can help. Reasonable land owners would probably be more willing to open their lands if they were INFORMED of these laws that afford them protection. But of course, there will always been land owners who wish to exercise their right to exclusion, and keep everyone the hell off their land regardless.


caveclimber


Sep 13, 2002, 9:59 AM
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I agree I think its BS that anyone can go onto someones land and fall. Turn around and sue due to the fact that they were stupid enough try something they knew was dangerous. I believe that America is going to the Dogs and I think we just need to get rid of all the lawyers and politicans. The court systems today need to put their foot down and look at cases such as the McDonalds coffee case and the Braums Hot chocalate case stupid people need not apply. Soon people will be to scared to go to work or go to school because some moron will think of a way to sue you. I think that comedian was right when he said stupid people need to wear a sign. So we just don't pay any attention to them.


wlderdude


Sep 13, 2002, 10:26 AM
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While I think that these law suits are stupid, the people who file them are not. They are just terribly selfish and greed bottom sucking slothfull slime.

We live in a country of lotteries and easy money. The stock market dot com easy money fad of a few years ago is taking its toll on our economy right now.

If you had an opprotunity to get a few thousand dollars, or even million, would you?
If you answered no, I admire your social conscience. But it only takes a few scumbags.

I think we need to make filing lawsuits more expensive. Not in the sence of if somone hurts you, it is hard to sue, but if you are falsely acusing or making unreasonable claims, you pay SEVERE penalties or even do time.

No one would play the lottery if tickets were $5000.


ride


Sep 13, 2002, 11:57 AM
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Quote:
Theres a big boulder in Camarillo by a park the boulder is on useless none used land a few people used to climb there alot until some dumbass fell and got hurt and sued the land owner, then they had waviers made the same happened again and they had to go back to court now no one is aloud out there they'll chase you off they did me and highclimber.
I understand their reasoning, I tryed to get the Acsess Fund involved but they never wrote me back.


Cowboy: I am trying to create a "coalition" of local climbers that use Camarillo Springs together and the land owners may be willing to give us access back. I can fwd you all of my correspondence I have had with the owner, if you like. I got the idea of the "coalition" from Mike w/ ACCESS FUND's san diego office.

email ride@ieee.org if you would like to help.
thanx


hallm


Sep 13, 2002, 3:06 PM
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Well, this is an interesting post (at least to us "greed bottom sucking slothfull [sic] slime"), and raises myriad issues. It has been 7 years since I had real property, but after some case law research, here goes:

First, the legal issue of land owner liability for individuals on their land. Injury to a person is termed a tort. A tort action is filed to recovery damages due to injury caused by the action (malfeasance) or, in some situations, inaction (nonfeasance) of a person. In order for tort liability to exist one must find a duty, breach of that duty, causation and resulting injury.

At common law, three categories of passer on land existed, a trespasser, a licensee, and an invitee. The level of care (duty) a landowner (a party that exterts control over land, even if they do not own the land, can be liable as well) was required to provide to passers depended upon which category they fit into.

An invitee is a person who passes on land at the request of or invitation by the land owner where the purpose of the invitation is for the business or profit of the land owner. A land owner owes a duty of utmost care to invitees to land and must correct all dangerous conditions about which the land owner knows or should know, including open and obvious defects.

A licensee is a party the passes on land by the permission of the land owner, but where the land owner has no business or profit interest in allowing the person on his land. An example of a licensee would be an individual invited for social reasons, or allowed to pass for the licensee's sole pleasure or use. A land owner owes a duty of reasonable care to all invitees.

A trespasser is a person who enters onto land with the permission (either express or implied) of the land owner. A land owner owes no duty of care to trespassers, but will be liable for willful acts taken to injure a person (such as setting land mines in your field).

Land owners may breach their duty of care in certain instances. Only in the case of an invitee will a land owner be potentially liable for open and obvious dangers, such as a huge cliff. An argument can also be made that liability may attach if a land owner is aware of unsafe conditions, such as bad anchors at a spot the land owner knows is used climbing, if the land owner knows of the defect and fails to inform invitees and licensees or correct the defect. A land owner could also be liable to invitees and licensees for situations where the land owners actions unreasonably increase the risk to those people, such as taking action causing a rock to become less stable or damaging anchors. Finally, a land owner is liable to invitees, licensees and trespassers for willful injury.

As noted above, there must also be a finding of causation (both causation-in-fact and proximate or legal cause) as well as resulting injury (this is usually obvious in a climbing accident) for liability to attach.

Typically, the doctrines of express (written or oral agreement to assume risk) or primary assumption of risk (for you Latin speakers or jargon-lovers out there "volenti non fit injuria") protects land owners or others who owe a general duty of care (such as climbing instructors) from injury caused during high-risk activity such as climbing. Accordingly, where injury results from events inherent in a high-risk activity (such falling or otherwise slamming into rock during climbing), a person owing a duty of reasonable care to a participant will normally not be liable for injury resulting therefrom, even if such injury results from negligence of another (such as land owners, climbing partners and instructors). See Regents of the University of Cal. v. Superior Court (Roettgen), (1996) 41 Cal. App. 4th 1040 (under doctrine of assumption of risk, climbing instructor not liable for student’s death where allegation is that instructor negligently set anchors, stating “[f]alling, whether because of one's own slip, a coclimber's stumble, or an anchor system giving way, is the very risk inherent in the sport of mountain climbing and cannot be completely eliminated without destroying the sport itself.”). States have also enacted statutes, such as those described above, eliminating any duty of care owed by land owners to individuals involved in high-risk activity engaged on their land.

All this being said, it is unlikely that a land owner will be found liable for injury to a person resulting from climbing. A land owner, however, could be liable to a climber for injury resulting from other activity, such as crossing a bridge, walking through a field, etc., if injury results from a breach of the land owner’s standard of care. However, whether a land owner will be found liable in a suit may have little to do with whether the land owner wants to allow climbers on his property.

As noted in previous posts, a land owner typically maintains liability insurance on his property. Insurance companies assess risk, and hence set premiums, based not only upon the likelihood that its insured will be found liable for an insured event, and hence seek indemnification against the insurance company, but also upon the other costs associated with writing the policy. Insurance companies are normally required to defend its insureds against civil suits that allege damage for which the insurance company may be liable for, regardless of the likelihood of success of the suit. Attorney fees are quite expensive. Accordingly, the likelihood of a suit being brought, even a suit without merit, increases premiums for land owners, and may in fact eliminate the ability to get liability coverage altogether. Without liability insurance, a land owner may not be able to operate its property in the land owner’s intended manner, and may also put the land owner in breach of a mortgage or other obligation upon the land. This insurance issue, I suspect, is the real culprit behind a land owner cutting off access to a climbing spot.

However, whether a land owner is actually entitled to eliminate access to his land is a separate issue. Typically, a land owner can exclude any person he wants from his land. Yet, in many circumstances, a land owner cannot prevent access or use of his land for particular purposes. Land often times has encumbrances placed upon it that run appurtenant to the land. Such encumbrances can take the form of an irrevocable license, an easement, or other covenant, condition or restriction (CC&Rs) to the fee simple title to the land. Where a land owner has acquiesced to his land being utilized in a particular manner for an extended period of time, an easement or irrevocable license may be created. Once an easement or irrevocable license exists, it cannot be extinguished by the land owner, and a person who enjoys the benefits of the easement or irrevocable license can sue in court for the land owner’s interference with his use of the easement or irrevocable license. If a court finds that a valid easement exists, then the court can enjoin the land owner from prohibiting the use of the easement and even award damages to easement users for past loss of the land.

Of course, any analysis of a situation where a land owner has eliminated access to climbing is subject to the specifics of each case. Accordingly, the foregoing is not intended to be, and does not constitute legal advice. Any reader hereof shall not rely on any of the foregoing, and shall hold the writer harmless for any injury resulting from any of the foregoing.


[ This Message was edited by: hallm on 2002-09-13 17:07 ]


roughster


Sep 13, 2002, 3:26 PM
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What many private and public land owners do not understand is that by EXCLUDING climbing, as in saying "No Climbing Allowed" in either Verbal or Written notifications, they are actually putting themselves as greater risk for being successfully sued.

I have had to explain this several times land owners and managers. When you prohibit an activity, you take on the resonsibility of enforcing that actions.

If a user gets hurt on your land, how can that not be a breach of contract on the part of the owner which took the responsibility for prohibiting climbing?

The best and safest way for an owner to be protected themselves from lawsuits is to make sure they do not encourage ANY particular outdoor activity, but also do not exclude any. Open land access is what this country was founded and on and many of the land usage laws were created to encourage private owners to allow public recreational use.

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