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State Supreme Court Dismisses Premises Liability Action Based on Recreational Use Statute

Earlier this month, the Supreme Court of North Dakota issued an opinion in a premises liability case brought by a woman who was seriously injured when she fell to the ground after stepping on a rotten board at a county fairground. In the case, Woody v. Pembina County Annual Fair & Exhibition Association, the court determined that the fairground was not liable because they were entitled to immunity under the state’s recreational use statute.

fireworks-1550276What Is a Recreational Use Statute?

In general, owners of land have a duty to those whom they invite onto their property to keep the property safe and free of dangerous conditions that may result in serious injury or death. However, there are a few exceptions to this general rule, one of which being when the owner of the land opens up the land for free use to the general public for recreational purposes.

In Florida, the recreational use statute is designed to “encourage persons to make land, water areas, and park areas available to the public for outdoor recreational purposes by limiting their liability.” To do this, the law states that a land owner who opens up his or her land to the general public for recreational use “owes no duty of care to keep that area safe for entry or use by others, or to give warning to persons entering or going on that area of any hazardous conditions, structures, or activities on the area.”

Woody v. Pembina County Annual Fair & Exhibition Association:  An Example of the Application of a Recreational Use Statute

In Woody, the plaintiff sued the fairground, alleging that it was negligent in failing to keep the grandstand safe to use for visitors. However, the fairground argued that the firework display was free to attend, and it was merely opening up its land for recreational use to the general public.

In response, the plaintiff claimed that the fair was engaged in commercial – rather than recreational – activity, since the vendors who sold their goods at the fair were charged a fee in order to do so. The court hearing the case determined that this was too attenuated and that the fact that the vendors were charged a fee to sell to the fair’s customers didn’t mean that the fair was not opening its land up for recreational activity with regard to the plaintiff and other attendees of the firework display. Thus, the court affirmed the dismissal of the plaintiff’s case.

Have You Been Injured in a Florida Slip-and-Fall?

If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a Florida slip-and-fall accident on another’s property, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. Keep in mind that the general rule when it comes to premises liability is that a landowner is liable to those invited onto his or her land. This includes residential landowners as well as store owners. To learn more about premises liability law as it pertains to your case, call the Law Offices of Cohn & Smith at 954-431-8100 today to set up a free consultation to speak with a dedicated and knowledgeable attorney.

Related Blog Posts:

Florida Plaintiff’s Bad-Faith Claim against Insurance Company Upheld on Appeal, South Florida Injury Attorney Blog, March 16, 2016.

Plaintiff’s Road-Rage Case Successful on Appeal, South Florida Injury Attorney Blog, April 4, 2016.

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