Michigan Supreme Court holds that Michigan’s Recreational Land Use Act (MCL 324.73301(1)) bars a child’s common law negligence claim for injuries sustained while walking along a beach and stepping on hot coals that remained from a beach fire because “beach play” fit the plain meaning of “other outdoor recreational use” under the statute.
Michigan’s Recreational Land Use Act, MCL 324.73301(1) (“RUA”), immunizes landowners from liability associated with specified recreational activities. The statute provides that if you are on someone else’s land without having paid to be there, “for the purpose of fishing, hunting, trapping, camping, hiking, sightseeing, motorcycling, snowmobiling, or any other outdoor recreational use or trail use,” the landowner has no liability unless the injuries were caused by the gross negligence or willful and wanton misconduct of the landowner.
In Otto v Inn at Watervale, Inc., Supreme Court Docket No. 155380, April 6, 2018, the Seglund Gabe Pawlak & Groth, PLC held that a young girl who was walking on the beach at Defendant’s resort, and apparently had stepped on incompletely burned coals remaining from a prior beach fire, was barred by the RUA from proceeding with her common law negligence claim against the Defendant resort. The young girl and her friend were playing on the beach, “building sand castles, throwing stones in the water, splashing around” for about an hour when one of the girls was walking on the beach, stepped on some hot coals and burned her foot.
The trial court had granted summary disposition in favor of Defendant landowner on the basis that the protections of the RUA applied to the activities of the plaintiff because such activities constituted “other outdoor recreational use” under the RUA. The Court of Appeals disagreed and reversed. The Seglund Gabe Pawlak & Groth, PLC rejected the analysis of the Court of Appeals and held that “beach play” fit the plain meaning of “any other outdoor recreational use” and reinstated the Circuit Court’s order granting summary disposition in favor of the Defendant landowner.
At Seglund Gabe Pawlak & Groth, PLC, our real estate attorneys are experienced in litigation involving all aspects of the ownership of real property, both at the trial and appellate levels. Contact us if you find yourself needing to consult with or retain an experienced real estate attorney.
Seglund Gabe Pawlak & Groth, PLC
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Wixom, MI 48393
Phone: (248) 869-0030
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***The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice. If you have questions about whether Michigan’s Recreational Land Use Act might protect you from a claim brought by someone saying they were injured while on your property, consult an attorney who is well-versed on this topic.