HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

H.B. NO.

101

THIRTY-FIRST LEGISLATURE, 2021

 

STATE OF HAWAII

 

 

 

 

 

 

A BILL FOR AN ACT

 

 

relating to tort liability.

 

 

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:

 


SECTION 1. The legislature finds that the recreational use law, codified as chapter 520, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is an important means to allow public access to land and water areas for recreational purposes while limiting landowner's liability toward persons entering for such purposes.

The legislature further finds that, in spite of the legal protection currently afforded under chapter 520, Hawaii Revised Statutes, landowners remain reluctant to open their lands for recreational use because of the threat of lawsuits and the costs associated with those suits in the event a person gets injured on the landowner's property.

The legislature also finds that chapter 520, Hawaii Revised Statutes, needs to be clarified to better protect a landowner's liability for injuries persons receive while on the landowner's land for recreational purposes to ensure more land and water areas can be available to the public for recreational purposes.

The purpose of this Act is to encourage more landowners to make land and water areas available to the public for recreational purposes by:

(1) Clarifying that persons injured on the landowner's land in circumstances where a landowner's liability is limited under chapter 520, Hawaii Revised Statutes, have no cause of action;

(2) Awarding attorneys' fees and costs if a suit is determined to lack a reasonable basis for bringing the action; and

(3) Providing that persons, as a matter of law, assumes the risks for outdoor recreational activities and cannot maintain an action against the landowner for any injuries resulting from such inherent risks.

SECTION 2. Chapter 520, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by adding three new sections to be appropriately designated and to read as follows:

"520-    No cause of action. Except as provided in section 520-5, no cause of action shall exist for a person injured using the premises as provided in section 520-3.

520-    Award of attorneys' fees and costs. If, as to any action against a landowner, the court finds against the claimant because of the application of this chapter, it shall determine whether the claimant had a reasonable basis for bringing the action, and if no reasonable basis is found, shall order the claimant to pay for the reasonable attorneys' fees and costs incurred by the landowner in defending against the action.

520-    Assumption of the risk. It is recognized that outdoor recreational activities may be hazardous. Therefore, each person who participates in outdoor recreational activities accepts, as a matter of law, the dangers inherent in such activities, and shall not maintain an action against an owner, occupant, or lessee of land for any injuries which result from such inherent risks, dangers, or hazards. The categories of such risks, hazards, or dangers which the outdoor recreational participant assumes as a matter of law include but are not limited to the following: variations in terrain, trails, paths, or roads; surface or subsurface snow or ice conditions; bare spots, rocks, trees, stumps, and other forms of forest growth or debris; structures on the land; equipment not in use; pole lines; fences; and collisions with other objects or persons."

SECTION 3. This Act does not affect rights and duties that matured, penalties that were incurred, and proceedings that were begun before its effective date.

SECTION 4. New statutory material is underscored.

SECTION 5. This Act shall take effect upon its approval.

 

INTRODUCED BY:

_____________________________

 

 


 


 

Report Title:

Landowner Liability; Recreational Uses of Land

 

Description:

Clarifies that persons that enter private property for recreational purposes have no cause of action, unless exempted under law. Requires a court to award attorneys' fees and costs to landowners if plaintiffs bring unreasonable claims. States that, as a matter of law, persons participating in outdoor recreational activities accept the inherent dangers in the activities.

 

 

 

The summary description of legislation appearing on this page is for informational purposes only and is not legislation or evidence of legislative intent.