New York State Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Fourth Judicial Department
Recreational use statute
Affirmative negligence – Installing tree stand
Appealed from Supreme Court, Steuben County
Background: The plaintiff commenced an action after sustaining injuries after he fell from a tree stand on the defendant’s property. The defendant supplied the tree stand platform, ladder, and ratchet strap used to secure the stand. The defendant was aware that one of the straps in the ratchet set broke when he tested. The defendants appealed from a finding of negligence after a bench trial.
Ruling: The Appellate Division reversed and dismissed one defendant. The court held that the defendants were not immune from liability pursuant to Section 9-103 of the General Obligations Law as the defendant’s liability was not premised on any condition on the land but rather it was based on the defendant’s alleged affirmative negligence in providing a faulty strap for the installation of the tree stand. The Appellate Division further held that the defendant wife could not be found guilty under any fair interpretation of the evidence.
Mark T. Whitford Jr., of Ernest D. Santorao, for the defendants-appellants; Timothy J. Rosell, of Pulos and Rosell, for the plaintiff-respondent.