A recent article explains “a new Restatement of Tort (ROT) approved in April 2010 by the American Law Institute that alters the landowner-trespasser relationship—and has the potential to provide a trespasser with the legal means to sue a homeowner or association for injuries. It says what a court should do is give trespassers the same duty of care given to a customer coming to a business or a visitor coming to a house.”
Currently, New York and California are the only states in the nation in which a landowner can be held liable for injuries sustained by a trespasser. This means that a person who enters another’s property without legal right or permission and sustains an injury, can sue the land possessor for that injury; making this an important issue for everyone in New York. This session, the Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York secured the introduction of bipartisan legislation which would prevent a flagrant trespasser from suing a landowner and recovering damages. This legislation dials back such broad and open-ended liability exposure by codifying traditional common law liability rules relating to trespassers that exist in most other states. The bill protects landowners from the unwarranted expansion of liability suggested in the Restatement (Third) of Torts, and this codification of the common law ‘no duty to trespassers’ rule is an important step in protecting landowners.
The ROT does not change any state law, but rather acts as a reference for judges on each state’s tort threshold. ”PCI and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) fear this particular update could open a loophole for potentially costly litigation against landowners”. The ultimate impact of this, aside from the clear unfairness, is the potential increase of insurance premiums for homeowners and businesses. These high rates already impact every New Yorker through higher insurance costs, higher taxes, and increased cost of goods and services.
LRANY will continue to fight for the rights of property owners in this upcoming session! see our memo of support.
Contact your elected officials and urge them to pass this legislation to bring commonsense back to NY!