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#41805 - 11/18/08 05:35 PM Re: Rosendale Cave CLOSED TO CLIMBING [Re: chip]
Daniel Offline
veteran

Registered: 05/23/01
Posts: 1515
 Originally Posted By: chip
Sounds to me like the exclusion of climbing is an obvious, deliberate act on the part of the legislators, but hopefully I'm wrong.


Again, going by my recollection of the article, there have been attempts to get the legislature to add swimming (and perhaps climbing) to the list but it was blocked by trial lawyer groups. I suspect their argument that those activities needed to be excluded for public safety reasons. Others will say that they're looking out for their own business.

I have nothing against trial lawyers per se--I'm a nonpracticing lawyer and believe trial lawyers serve an essential societal function--but I think they're on the wrong side on this one.

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#41806 - 11/18/08 05:49 PM Re: Rosendale Cave CLOSED TO CLIMBING [Re: chip]
Mark Heyman Offline
old hand

Registered: 12/23/99
Posts: 1123
Loc: South Jersey (Pinelands)
 Originally Posted By: chip
NYS has enacted law to protect landowners from lawsuit related to recreational injury or death, as long as they have not modified their property to encourage such activities. You should not have any worries unless you deside that a Via Ferrata would be a cool way to pick up extra cash.


Sounds as if Eddie has good reason to be upset that someone modified his property to encourage climbing!

As many have noted, MMH guides have their own insurance.
I'm pretty sure insurance is not the only reason the public is not allowed to climb there. Look what they charge just to hike!

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#41811 - 11/18/08 07:16 PM Re: Rosendale Cave CLOSED TO CLIMBING [Re: Daniel]
MarcC Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/10/00
Posts: 3532
 Originally Posted By: Daniel
 Originally Posted By: Dillbag
 Quote:
And if the law included climbing and absolved property owners from liability, then would the Mohonk Mountain House be citing insurance issues as a reason for closing Skytop to the pubic?


That argument went out the window as soon as they started allowing guided parties scheduled through the MMH...


I asked a guide about this, and MMH's insurance argument is still valid (whether or not it's the actual reason). When climbing with a guide, the client is on the guide company's insurance policy, so the MMH insurer is off the hook.

It was never about insurance - it was always that a majority of the MMH Board didn't want climbing. Long before there was MMH sanctioned guided climbing at Skytop, the Access Fund had worked out a proposal that provided cheap insurance and removed MMH from liability (basically the AF would take over the insurance) - there was some aspect about the deal other than insurance that the MMH balked at and thus rejected the proposal.
_________________________
- Marc

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#41812 - 11/18/08 07:25 PM Re: Rosendale Cave CLOSED TO CLIMBING [Re: MarcC]
Daniel Offline
veteran

Registered: 05/23/01
Posts: 1515
 Originally Posted By: MarcC
It was never about insurance - it was always that a majority of the MMH Board didn't want climbing.


Just to clarify: I didn't mean to imply that insurance was the real or only reason for the ban at Skytop. I was just pointing out that there were liability issues under New York State law and that having guided climbing obviated that concern as far as MMH's insurance carrier goes. Whether the MMH Board just doesn't want general climbing at Skytop is another issue.

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#41814 - 11/18/08 07:31 PM Re: Rosendale Cave CLOSED TO CLIMBING [Re: MarcC]
Dizzy Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 12/23/99
Posts: 2177
Loc: Berkshires, MA and Ahlington, ...
Through all these posts no one has asked the obvious question....where did EDDIE get money to buy land?

Dizz
_________________________
I can handle reality in small doses, but as a lifestyle it's way too confining
-Lily Tomlin

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#41815 - 11/18/08 07:37 PM Re: Rosendale Cave CLOSED TO CLIMBING [Re: Daniel]
tls Offline
journeyman

Registered: 07/24/00
Posts: 54
 Quote:
Again, going by my recollection of the article, there have been attempts to get the legislature to add swimming (and perhaps climbing) to the list but it was blocked by trial lawyer groups.


It shouldn't matter. I don't have the citation handy but the NYS Court of Appeals ruled many years ago that a cliff was an inherently obvious hazard -- that anyone climbing did so at his own risk. I believe the opinion actually had the phrase "like a flashing warning sign" in it. It's been posted here before but if nobody else has it handy I can try to find it again when I get home.

The Mountain House doesn't want their property overrun by climbers, and I assume they don't want the hassle of administering some kind of limited-access system. Better to let a guide service do it for them, I guess. They're well within their rights to ban climbing for whatever reason -- even one that might be so frustrating to climbers as "100 people with backpacks hiking up to Skytop will annoy the carriage-trade hotel guests" -- but the liability thing is and always has been an excuse.

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#41817 - 11/18/08 08:05 PM Re: Rosendale Cave CLOSED TO CLIMBING [Re: tls]
retr2327 Offline
member

Registered: 06/14/07
Posts: 108
"I don't have the citation handy but the NYS Court of Appeals ruled many years ago that a cliff was an inherently obvious hazard -- that anyone climbing did so at his own risk."

True enough. But this "inherently obvious hazard" defense is not as likely to get you out on a quick motion, since the injured climber may try to argue that some action/inaction by the landowner (e.g., failure to inspect and/or replace the piton, as the most obvious example, but hardly the only one) "increased" the risk beyond that which was obvious.

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#41818 - 11/18/08 08:16 PM Re: Rosendale Cave CLOSED TO CLIMBING [Re: Eddie]
tls Offline
journeyman

Registered: 07/24/00
Posts: 54
 Quote:
interesting you say you have NOT knowingly climbed on private land......it is ALL private land unless it says it is public! all public land is posted so....if it is not posted IT IS PRIVATE! now you are more informed!


That is false, both in New York State specifically and under common law principles in general. Which does not excuse anyone being a richardhead and bolting Eddie's land, but maybe we could all stick to the facts and tone down the rhetoric a bit?

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#41820 - 11/18/08 09:00 PM Re: Rosendale Cave CLOSED TO CLIMBING [Re: tls]
Jim Lawyer Offline
member

Registered: 08/23/00
Posts: 157
Loc: Pompey, NY
Regarding the general obligations law (GOL):

Even for cases of hiking (or others listed in the statute), I've been told that the GOL may not be much help. It offers immunity to landowners who allow people to come on their land to, for example, hike, but there is a 1996 case that held the law did not apply where some kids walked through a field to get to a railroad tressle they were going to play on. So, perhaps GOL isn't the protection we think it is?

My understanding is that landowners are only responsible for man made or hidden defects that are not readily apparent. It would be difficult to argue that a huge cliff was not realily apparent. As such, I've been told by somebody at the Access Fund that no land owner in the country has ever lost a suit brought by a climber (or surviving family) claiming negligence of the land owner with respect to their cliff. So, it would seem the MMH has nothing to worry about. Of course, this doesn't protect them (or any land owner) from an expensive defense.

It seems that so many landowners these days are focused on liability. I wonder how much of this is just baseless fear? Perhaps an attorney with such experience can advise...

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#41821 - 11/18/08 09:16 PM Re: Rosendale Cave CLOSED TO CLIMBING [Re: Dizzy]
Mike Rawdon Offline

Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 11/29/99
Posts: 4275
Loc: Poughkeepsie
 Originally Posted By: Dizzy
Through all these posts no one has asked the obvious question....where did EDDIE get money to buy land?

Dizz


It's been in his family.

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