Forums: Climbing Information: Access Issues & Closures:
Legal Advise Needed
RSS FeedRSS Feeds for Access Issues & Closures

Premier Sponsor:

 


ClimbSoHigh


Mar 17, 2009, 11:49 AM
Post #1 of 20 (4899 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Feb 28, 2008
Posts: 208

Legal Advise Needed
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

So a local bouldering spot in my town was recently closed to land owners in fear of a lawsuit. I have heard that there isn't good research data on how many people get hurt climbing (especially bouldering) but I was wondering if anyone with a legal background could help me find data on the number of lawsuits injured climbers have filed against land owners, especially in Connecticut. The only lawsuits I have heard of come from hikers who fall off the top of cliffs, and normal people who get hurt with hired guides. I know most people I climb with would never sue a land owner if they hurt themselves climbing but I figure facts would be more persuading than my opinion. This land allows mountainbiking, atv's, and hiking, but no climbing. I was hoping to compile evidence of the number of lawsuits brought against land owners from climbers compared to the later. I hope the data would back my belief that very few climbers sue land owners for self inflicted injury while many more mt bikers/hikers/atv'ers do try to sue.

Also any help with structuring a waiver would be nice as well. I know they are flimsy in court, especailly when signed online, but some places like Muir Valley have been reopened to climbers thanks to online waivers. Any advice would help.


Partner angry


Mar 17, 2009, 12:03 PM
Post #2 of 20 (4883 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Jul 21, 2003
Posts: 8405

Re: [ClimbSoHigh] Legal Advise Needed [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (3 ratings)  
Can't Post

I'm not a lawyer and have never been to Connecticut.

I doubt you'll find a single lawsuit outside of a gym for your state. Probably not one in the gym either.

The direction you need to take is not alleviating their lawsuit concerns but proving that climbers have used the land for a certain amount of time. If it's long enough, you "might" be able to get an easement. Basically, you'd be grandfathered in.

What really helps your case is that people mountain bike, atv, and hike, so actual use of the land is not the issue. This should be tremendously in your favor, at least until they shut the area down to everything.

Fuck private land.


GeneralZon


Mar 17, 2009, 12:05 PM
Post #3 of 20 (4879 views)
Shortcut

Registered: May 9, 2008
Posts: 273

Re: [angry] Legal Advise Needed [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

Is that Angry the Socialist speaking?Laugh


acorneau


Mar 17, 2009, 12:43 PM
Post #4 of 20 (4832 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Feb 6, 2008
Posts: 2889

Re: [ClimbSoHigh] Legal Advise Needed [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

The Access Fund may have some info that might be helpful...

http://www.accessfund.org/resources/leases.php


reno


Mar 17, 2009, 12:49 PM
Post #5 of 20 (4823 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Oct 30, 2001
Posts: 18283

Re: [ClimbSoHigh] Legal Advise Needed [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

Private land, or public land?


DFCLIMB


Mar 18, 2009, 5:47 PM
Post #6 of 20 (4700 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Aug 8, 2008
Posts: 32

Re: [ClimbSoHigh] Legal Advise Needed [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

According to the public use statute if the private land owner does not charge a fee they are not held liable. However, Conway vs Wilton scared many towns (the town of Wilton was sued because someone hurt themselves in one of there tennis courts) and towns responded with restrictions - especially on climbers. The land in question - is it public or private? That will make a difference.
The Ragged Mtn Foundation raggedmtn.org and/or the Access Fund may be able to help. Approach the land owner well prepared, and in a professional manner - it is much easier to say no. If private, and worth it, purchasing the property is always an option.


scrapedape


Mar 20, 2009, 7:01 AM
Post #7 of 20 (4575 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Jun 23, 2004
Posts: 2392

Re: [ClimbSoHigh] Legal Advise Needed [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

ClimbSoHigh wrote:
I was hoping to compile evidence of the number of lawsuits brought against land owners from climbers compared to the later. I hope the data would back my belief that very few climbers sue land owners for self inflicted injury while many more mt bikers/hikers/atv'ers do try to sue.

If you play your cards just right, you'll be able to get the land closed to bikers, hikers, and ATVers as well as climbers.Unsure


Tree_wrangler


Mar 22, 2009, 9:14 AM
Post #8 of 20 (4463 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Feb 8, 2007
Posts: 403

Re: [ClimbSoHigh] Legal Advise Needed [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

I don't know about your state, but the State of Oregon waives any liability of any kind for landowners who allow public use of their private lands. This is to encourage private citizens to share access with the rest of us.

If your state has a similar law on the books, the landowners concerns regarding lawsuits are baseless.

Good luck.


chumbawumba


Mar 22, 2009, 9:56 AM
Post #9 of 20 (4435 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Dec 20, 2005
Posts: 44

Re: [ClimbSoHigh] Legal Advise Needed [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (1 rating)  
Can't Post

It will be very hard to find stats on actual climbing lawsuits. You may be able to find case law. For instance, in California there are a few appellate decisions that provide that the defense of assumption of the risk still applies in a sport setting and particularly in rock climbing. Thus, if you kill yourself climbing, your family can't sue the landownder because falling to your death is one of the risks you assume when you climb.


Partner j_ung


Mar 23, 2009, 9:33 AM
Post #10 of 20 (4349 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Nov 21, 2003
Posts: 18689

Re: [chumbawumba] Legal Advise Needed [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (1 rating)  
Can't Post

chumbawumba wrote:
It will be very hard to find stats on actual climbing lawsuits. You may be able to find case law. For instance, in California there are a few appellate decisions that provide that the defense of assumption of the risk still applies in a sport setting and particularly in rock climbing. Thus, if you kill yourself climbing, your family can't sue the landownder because falling to your death is one of the risks you assume when you climb.

Earlier this month at the AF's Conservation Summit, I asked whether or not there had ever been a successful lawsuit brought against a land owner by an injured climber (or his/her family). Not only is there not a successful one, but nobody could even think an unsuccessful one. However, it seemed to be the prevailing opinion that this will change given enough time. Though there haven't been any climber v. landowner suits, there have been plenty of others (successful ones) brought by other recreators, such as hunters, ATV-ers, etc. Only a matter of time.


djlachelt


Mar 23, 2009, 10:35 AM
Post #11 of 20 (4258 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Sep 25, 2005
Posts: 261

Re: [ClimbSoHigh] Legal Advise Needed [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

Hmm. I don't know for sure whether a lawsuit was filed in this case... but Catslab (in Clear Creek Cayon) was closed after a fatality there. I thought I'd heard that the landowner was sued and thus closed the area. However, perhaps the landowner closed it to avoid possible future lawsuits, not because of any actual lawsuit.

Here's a reference to the accident report:
http://books.google.com/...p;ct=result#PPA61,M1

And here's the reference to some inconclusive discussion about the closure on MP:
http://www.mountainproject.com/...eek_canyon/105744767

I realize that this doesn't directly answer your request for number of lawsuits... but thought it might be relevant.

I certainly think the AF would be a good resource to help with your efforts. You might also talk with someone from the Southeastern Climbers Coalition http://www.seclimbers.org/ as they've done a lot of work with forming good relationships with landowners. Though, I don't know if they had to work with any municipalities.

Good luck, Jon


privatelandowner


Apr 2, 2009, 6:41 AM
Post #12 of 20 (4090 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Apr 2, 2009
Posts: 3

Re: [angry] Legal Advise Needed [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

In reply to:
Fuck private land.

Fuck climbing, on private land anyway without the landowners ok.

(This post was edited by privatelandowner on Apr 2, 2009, 6:48 AM)


privatelandowner


Apr 2, 2009, 7:13 AM
Post #13 of 20 (4049 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Apr 2, 2009
Posts: 3

Re: [privatelandowner] Legal Advise Needed [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

Angry climber, do you really think if you climbed somewhere before then you can sue and get an easement to climb there? If that's true then private landowners should start closing their land to climbing everywhere. Thanks for the tip.


apeman_e


Apr 2, 2009, 7:25 AM
Post #14 of 20 (4035 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Nov 21, 2008
Posts: 212

Re: [privatelandowner] Legal Advise Needed [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

Why? Are you worried about getting sued?

Did some sort of incident occur?

I suspect this is in regards to a place I've been bouldering for around ten years, and I got kicked out the last time I went.

I'm not trying to stir up trouble, I just want to know what the problem is.


reno


Apr 2, 2009, 7:59 AM
Post #15 of 20 (4001 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Oct 30, 2001
Posts: 18283

Re: [apeman_e] Legal Advise Needed [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (1 rating)  
Can't Post

apeman_e wrote:
I'm not trying to stir up trouble, I just want to know what the problem is.

The problem is that some climbers think they should be allowed on any land that has a crag, even if that crag is on private property.

It's selfishness, plain and simple.


apeman_e


Apr 2, 2009, 8:42 AM
Post #16 of 20 (3958 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Nov 21, 2008
Posts: 212

Re: [reno] Legal Advise Needed [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

well that being said, I just wonder what the impetus for the new restrictions are.

Many popular climbing spots in CT are on private land where climbing is not technically allowed, but climbers have never been asked to leave over the last 40 years.

Climbing is allowed, but it isn't, or is it? I figure it must be the anal northeastern mindset.


reno


Apr 2, 2009, 8:49 AM
Post #17 of 20 (3952 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Oct 30, 2001
Posts: 18283

Re: [apeman_e] Legal Advise Needed [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (1 rating)  
Can't Post

apeman_e wrote:
well that being said, I just wonder what the impetus for the new restrictions are.

If you're really curious about the reasons for restrictions, you could try talking to the landowner.

I'd suspect it varies: Some simply don't want strange people walking all over their property. Others might have had bad experiences in the past with climbers (as was seen in the RRG last couple years.) Perhaps some have an unfounded fear of litigation. Others may just prefer solitude and privacy.

Regardless of the reason, private land is private land. We climbers have no right to climb on private land. If we ARE permitted to do so, we should consider it a privilege, and act accordingly.


apeman_e


Apr 2, 2009, 8:55 AM
Post #18 of 20 (3944 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Nov 21, 2008
Posts: 212

Re: [reno] Legal Advise Needed [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

Reno I fully agree. I'm not advocating trespassing. Hell, bouldering doesn't really do it for me anymore, so I don't even have a personal stake in this.

I thought someone might be able to answer my question. And you're right, the landowner surely could.


montgomerywick


Apr 6, 2009, 7:46 AM
Post #19 of 20 (3821 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Oct 31, 2002
Posts: 60

Re: [apeman_e] Legal Advise Needed [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

wow, there is so much incorrect information above it's scary.

Private landowners can close access to whoever, whenever, for whatever reasons they want. Want to prohibit climbers but allow blindfolded monkeys on ATVs? Sure can.

As for the theory espoused about getting a right to use the property due to a history of trespassing, you are talking about adverse possession. Won't work, wrong set of facts. Only thing constant trespassing MAY do is take you out of the category of trespasser vis a vis landowners responsibilities to you on his land. But it will not get you any ownership or right to use.

As for the comments about the rec statutes, those only give additional protections to landowners who ALLOW recreational usage. They do not provide absolute immunity/protection, and vary from state to state. Alot of private landowners are aware of those laws, but also realize that they do not stop someone from filing suit in the first instance, and thus having the landowner incur costs to defend, regardless if they may ultimately prevail.

If a private landowner came to me for my unbaised counsel on whether or not to allow climbers, I would tell him no way. Best course of action is to prevent the headache, concern, and possible liability of allowing on to your property such idiots as the "fuck private property" guy. For every 10 you allow on, there is at least one guy like that who will not respect your land.

luckily, I am quite baised.

and yes I am a lawyer

ciao
montgomery wick


sed


Apr 6, 2009, 8:01 AM
Post #20 of 20 (3798 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Aug 3, 2003
Posts: 356

Re: [ClimbSoHigh] Legal Advise Needed [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

I'll second the suggestion to contact your regional person at Access Fund with questions.


Forums : Climbing Information : Access Issues & Closures

 


Search for (options)

Log In:

Username:
Password: Remember me:

Go Register
Go Lost Password?
$13.46 (10% off)
$8.96 (10% off)
$5.85 (10% off)
$76.46 (10% off)



Follow us on Twiter Become a Fan on Facebook