A California appellate court recently reversed a trial court’s ruling to deny a government agency summary judgment on immunity grounds in a personal injury lawsuit stemming from an accident involving a rope swing at a public park.
In County of San Diego v. Super. Ct., the California Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District, Division One, ruled trial court erred in denying the county’s motion for summary judgment, as it was immune from personal injury litigation based on California Government Code Section 831.7, which deals with hazardous recreational activity. The statute says that if someone is engaged in hazardous recreational activity (in which one knows or reasonably should know there is a substantial risk of injury to onesself) on public property, the government can’t be held liable.
North Carolina has similar statutes, spelled out in NCGS 99E-24 and NCGS 99E-25. Those laws say that if a person is engaged in hazardous recreational activity, he or she assumes the known and unknown risks associated with this activities – including legal liability for injury or death. There is a personal responsibility to act within the limits of his or her ability and purpose of the design of equipment, maintain control of his or her person and refrain from acting in a way that may cause or contribute to death or injury to oneself or other people. Failure to do so is negligence, and no governmental entity will be liable when a person voluntarily engages in hazardous recreation activities on public property. Continue reading