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Andresano v. County of Pima - 6/30/2006

Arizona Court of Appeals Division Two Holds that AIDS Walk Participant is a “Recreational User.”


Plaintiff slipped and fell in a drainage culvert during an AIDS walk on property owned by Pima County, breaking her ankle. She sued the County, alleging that it had acted negligently in failing to maintain the property or to warn her of dangerous conditions on it. The County moved for summary judgment, arguing that it had immunity pursuant to A.R.S. 33-1551, which limits property owners’ liability to “recreational users” injured on their property to situations involving willful, malicious, or grossly negligent conduct. The trial court granted the motion, and plaintiff appealed, arguing that she was not a “recreational user” when she was injured. The Court of Appeals affirmed. Examining the definition of “recreational user” set forth in Section 33-1551, the Court noted that it included a “person to whom permission has been granted or implied without the payment of an admission fee or any other consideration” to engage in certain activities on particular property. Because plaintiff herself did not pay a fee to enter onto the property, notwithstanding the fact that the entity that organized the event had paid a fee, the Court concluded that plaintiff was a “recreational user.” The Court distinguished a case in which a fee paid by a company sponsoring a softball team served to exempt the members of the team from “recreational user” status, noting that the “connection between the payment and the plaintiff” in the instant case was more “attenuated.”

The opinion was authored by Chief Judge Pelander and joined by Judges Howard and Vásquez.

Posted On: 7/7/2006