Appeals Court Affirms Recreational Immunity for City

Sep 8, 2005

A Louisiana state appeals court has reversed, in part, a lower court, delivering a mixed victory to a spectator, who injured her foot while attending a baseball game at a city-owned complex.
Specifically, the appeals court found that the city of Lake Charles, which had moved for summary judgment, was entitled recreational immunity under La.R.S. 9:2795.
The judges were less sympathetic to the remaining defendants, affirming the lower court’s denial of summary judgment for the United States Specialty Sports Association, which hosted and organized the baseball tournament, and its insurer, United National Insurance Company.
The incident leading to the litigation occurred when plaintiff Shelly Benoit fractured her ankle after she stepped into a depressed portion of the ground at the city-owned complex. Nelson had paid a fee to attend the tournament.
“Considering these established facts, we conclude that La.R.S. 9:2795 is applicable to the City,” wrote the court. “Subsection (B)(1) states that ‘an owner of land, . . ., who permits with or without charge any person to use his land for recreational purposes [Pg 5] as herein defined does not thereby . . . (c) incur liability for any injury to person or property caused by any defect in the land regardless of whether naturally occurring or man-made.'”
As for the USSSA, the appeals court found that there was “insufficient” evidence to overturn the lower court.
Shelly Benoit v. City of Lake Charles et al.; Ct. App. La. 3d Cir.; CW05-89; 7/20/05
Attorneys of Record: (for defendants) H. Alan McCall of Stockwell, Sievert, Viccellio, Clements & Shaddock, L.L.P., Lake Charles, LA, (for plaintiff) Jeffrey T. Gaughan, of Baggett, McCall, Burgess, Watson & Gaughan, Lake Charles, LA.


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