Letters to the Editor

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TACOMA: Pugnetti Park has statutory immunity

Letter by Daniel J. DeLorenzo, University Place on March 29, 2012 at 9:28 am | 2 Comments »
March 29, 2012 11:44 am

Recently the Washington State Department of Transportation closed Don Pugnetti Park in downtown Tacoma and put it up for sale. One of the reasons it gave for the closure was the public liability and related costs the park represents.

A closer look at the situation will show that the park comes under Washington State Recreation Immunity Statute, RCW 4.24.210. In summary the statute provides immunity to the owners of property that have been put aside for the enjoyment of the public as long as there is no admission fee charged and there are no known dangerous artificial latent conditions. The statute applies to all public and privately owned land.

If there are concerns for the liability exposures that Pugnetti Park might have, the concerns are mitigated by RCW 4.24.210. There is a long list of landowner liability cases in Washington that have been dismissed on summary judgment because of our state immunity statute. Many of these cases started and were abruptly dismissed in Tacoma.

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