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Personal Injury Liability: RULWA Provides Protection


The Recreational Use of Land and Water Act (RULWA) offers protection from personal injury lawsuits to landowners who allow their land to be used without charge for recreational purposes. After recent amendments, the courts have begun to construe the law more broadly to recognize immunities even when the land has some “development” on it, such as playgrounds. Some recent cases have dealt with government owned land which has its own immunity statute which can be used in conjunction with the RULWA. WeConservePA has resources explaining the law, but many people don’t know it exists. Explaining that the law exists is sometimes necessary for both landowners and their advisors, like their attorneys or insurance agents, to feel comfortable allowing their land to be used for trails or outdoor events. At the same time, it’s unclear whether the law protects volunteers or park friends groups, and amendments have been proposed to add them. Understanding the law and recent cases “explaining” it will help us use the law better and to be more effective in advocating for changes. (1 CLE hour)




Kate Harper, Timoney Knox LLP

Catherine M. (Kate) Harper, a partner at Timoney Knox since 1997, was also a member of the Pennsylvania General Assembly in the House of Representatives, representing eastern Montgomery County for eighteen years. She chaired the House Local Government Committee. Ms. Harper has a general litigation practice, but focuses on land use (particularly municipal, conservation and zoning law) and real estate in Southeastern Pennsylvania. She handles commercial litigation, contract disputes and employment law matters for entrepreneurs, families and small businesses.

She has argued before the United States Supreme Court, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, all of the Pennsylvania appellate courts and the county courts in southeastern Pennsylvania.

Kate represents local governments, zoning boards and land development applicants. She also represents land trusts, landowners and conservancies in preservation projects and drafting and enforcing of conservation easements.


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