Governor Malloy Signs Bill Co-Sponsored By State Rep. Dan Carter
Governor Signs Carter Co-Sponsored Bill Giving Municipalities Immunity in Rec Land Lawsuits
The following is a press release from State Re. Dan Carter–
HARTFORD—State Rep. Dan Carter welcomed the governor’s approval of a bill that would give cities and towns immunity in suits spurred by injuries suffered on recreational land.
Gov. Dannel Malloy recently signed H.B. 6557, An Act Concerning Liability for the Recreational Use of Land. It protects municipalities, political subdivisions of the state and special districts as owners of land entitled to immunity under the Recreational Land Use Act—which offers the same protection to individuals, corporations, nonprofits, and private utilities.
The new law (P.A. 11-211) focuses on passive reaction areas, such as hiking trails. Recreation facilities such as basketball courts and swimming pools—things that require maintenance—are not included.
“A lot of cities and towns decided to restrict access to popular hiking or walking trails, for example, because they worried about costs tied to legal liability issues,” Carter said.
The bill co-sponsored by Carter was spurred by an issue that grabbed headlines last year—a nearly $3 million jury verdict awarded to a Rocky Hill resident who crashed her bicycle on a trail at a Metropolitan District Commission reservoir. Consequently, MDC officials, fearing a similar lawsuit in the future, threatened to padlock its various properties used by thousands of people throughout Connecticut. Municipal leaders, fearing similar lawsuits, considered making the same move.