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Insurance Claim Recreational Immunity.

Byline: Derek Hawkins

WI Court of Appeals District III

Case Name: Paula Langenhahn, et al. v. West Bend Mut. Ins. Co., et al.

Case No.: 2017AP2178

Officials: Stark, P.J., Hruz and Seidl, JJ.

Focus: Insurance Claim Recreational Immunity

Paula Langenhahn was injured when she tripped on a barricade positioned in an unmarked crosswalk while exiting Marathon Fun Days, a four-day community event held on park grounds in the Village of Marathon City. Paula and her husband, Keith Langenhahn, appeal a summary judgment dismissing their personal injury claims against the event organizer, American Legion Post 469, and its insurer, West Bend Mutual Insurance Company. The Langenhahns argue summary judgment on recreational immunity grounds was improper because Post 469 was not a statutory "owner," in that it did not "occupy" the crosswalk where Paula was injured. They also argue the circuit court improperly applied recreational immunity because Paula was not engaged in a recreational activity at the time of her injury.

We conclude the circuit court properly granted Post 469's summary judgment motion. Case law establishes that the producer or organizer of a recreational event like Marathon Fun Days "occupies" the real property on which the event is held, and it is therefore considered an "owner" of the property for purposes of recreational immunity. Moreover, the undisputed evidence in this case establishes that Paula's injury occurred on real property dedicated to a recreational use. Finally, Paula was walking to exit the Marathon Fun Days event at the time of her injury, an act that itself constitutes a recreational activity because it was "inextricably connected" to her attendance at that event. We affirm.


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Derek A Hawkins is trademark corporate counsel for Harley-Davidson. Hawkins oversees the prosecution and maintenance of the Harley-Davidson's international trademark portfolio in emerging markets. [/box]

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Publication:Wisconsin Law Journal
Date:Mar 19, 2019
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