Wisconsin's Recreational Use Statute: Towards Sharpening the Picture at the Edges. 1991 WLR 491.
Wisconsin's Recreational Use Statute. Pendleton. Wis. Law. May 1993.
Participation in recreational activities. 895.525(1)(1)
The legislature intends by this section to establish the responsibilities of participants in recreational activities in order to decrease uncertainty regarding the legal responsibility for deaths or injuries that result from participation in recreational activities and thereby to help assure the continued availability in this state of enterprises that offer recreational activities to the public.
In this section, "recreational activity" means any activity undertaken for the purpose of exercise, relaxation or pleasure, including practice or instruction in any such activity. "Recreational activity" includes, but is not limited to, hunting, fishing, trapping, camping, bowling, billiards, picnicking, exploring caves, nature study, dancing, bicycling, horseback riding, horseshoe-pitching, bird-watching, motorcycling, operating an all-terrain vehicle, ballooning, curling, throwing darts, hang gliding, hiking, tobogganing, sledding, sleigh riding, snowmobiling, skiing, skating, participation in water sports, weight and fitness training, sight-seeing, rock-climbing, cutting or removing wood, climbing observation towers, animal training, harvesting the products of nature and any other sport, game or educational activity.
(3) Appreciation of risk.
A participant in a recreational activity engaged in on premises owned or leased by a person who offers facilities to the general public for participation in recreational activities accepts the risks inherent in the recreational activity of which the ordinary prudent person is or should be aware. In a negligence action for recovery of damages for death, personal injury or property damage, conduct by a participant who accepts the risks under this subsection is contributory negligence, to which the comparative negligence provisions of s. 895.045
A participant in a recreational activity engaged in on premises owned or leased by a person who offers facilities to the general public for participation in recreational activities is responsible to do all of the following:
Heed all warnings regarding participation in the recreational activity.
Maintain control of his or her person and the equipment, devices or animals the person is using while participating in the recreational activity.
Refrain from acting in any manner that may cause or contribute to the death or injury to himself or herself or to other persons while participating in the recreational activity.
A violation of this subsection constitutes negligence. The comparative negligence provisions of s. 895.045
apply to negligence under this subsection.
(4m) Liability of contact sports participants. 895.525(4m)(a)(a)
A participant in a recreational activity that includes physical contact between persons in a sport involving amateur teams, including teams in recreational, municipal, high school and college leagues, may be liable for an injury inflicted on another participant during and as part of that sport in a tort action only if the participant who caused the injury acted recklessly or with intent to cause injury.
Unless the professional league establishes a clear policy with a different standard, a participant in an athletic activity that includes physical contact between persons in a sport involving professional teams in a professional league may be liable for an injury inflicted on another participant during and as part of that sport in a tort action only if the participant who caused the injury acted recklessly or with intent to cause injury.
(5) Effect on related provision.
Nothing in this section affects the limitation of property owners' liability under s. 895.52
History: 1987 a. 377
; 1995 a. 223
NOTE: 1987 Wis. Act 377
, which created this section, has a prefatory note explaining the act.
This section codifies common law. It does not impose a greater duty of care on individuals than exists at common law. Rockweit v. Senecal, 197 W (2d) 409, 541 NW (2d) 742 (1995).
Liability exemption; tests for intoxication. 895.53(1)(a)
"Conservation warden" means a person appointed as a conservation warden by the department of natural resources under s. 23.10 (1)
Any person withdrawing blood at the request of a traffic officer, law enforcement officer or conservation warden for the purpose of determining the presence or quantity of alcohol, controlled substances, controlled substance analogs or any combination of alcohol, controlled substances and controlled substance analogs is immune from any civil or criminal liability for the act, except for civil liability for negligence in the performance of the act.
Any employer of the person under sub. (2)
or any hospital where blood is withdrawn by that person has the same immunity from liability under sub. (2)
History: 1983 a. 535
; 1983 a. 538
; Stats. 1983 s. 895.53; 1985 a. 331
; 1995 a. 448
Liability exemption; notification of release.
A person is immune from any liability regarding any act or omission regarding the notification of any applicable office or person under s. 51.37 (10)
, 304.06 (1)
, 971.17 (4m)
. This section does not apply to wilful or wanton acts or omissions.
History: 1991 a. 269
; 1993 a. 479
Liability exemption; oil discharge control. 895.55(1)(a)
"Damages" means those damages specified in 33 USC 2702
(b) (2) and includes the cost of assessing those damages.
"Discharge" means, but is not limited to, spilling, leaking, pumping, pouring, emitting, emptying or dumping.
"Federal on-scene coordinator" means the federal official designated by the federal environmental protection agency or the U.S. coast guard to coordinate and direct responses under the national contingency plan.
"Oil" means petroleum, hydrocarbon, vegetable or mineral oil of any kind or in any form and includes oil mixed with wastes other than dredged spoil.
"Person" means an individual, owner, operator, corporation, limited liability company, partnership, association, municipality, interstate agency, state agency or federal agency.
"Removal" means the containment and elimination of oil from water, shorelines and beaches or the taking of other actions, including disposal, as may be necessary to minimize or mitigate damages to public health and welfare, including to fish, shellfish, wildlife and public or private property, shorelines and beaches.
"Removal costs" means the costs of removal that are incurred after an oil discharge occurs or, if there is a substantial threat of an oil discharge, the costs to prevent, minimize or mitigate an oil discharge.
"State contingency plan" means the plan prepared and published under s. 144.76 (5)
The bracketed language indicates the correct cross-reference. Section 144.76 (5) was renumbered by 1995 Wis. Act 227
Notwithstanding any provision of ch. 29
, subchs. II
and IV of ch. 30
, subchs. II
of ch. 144
, ch. 147
or 166 [s. 299.11
, ch. 29
, subchs. II
and IV of ch. 30
, ch. 166
or subch. II of ch. 295
], or any other provision of this chapter, a person is immune from liability for damages resulting from the person's acts or omissions and for the removal costs resulting from the person's acts or omissions if all of the following conditions are met:
The bracketed language indicates the correct cross-reference. Chapters 144 and 147 were renumbered by 1995 Wis. Act 227
Those acts or omissions were taken while rendering assistance, advice or care related to the threat of an oil discharge into the navigable waters of this state or related to the removal of oil resulting from an oil discharge into the navigable waters of this state.
The assistance, advice or care was consistent with the national contingency plan or the state contingency plan or was otherwise directed by the federal on-scene coordinator or the secretary of natural resources.
The immunity under sub. (2)
does not extend to any person:
Who is required to act under s. 144.76 (3)
[292.11 (3)] because the person possessed or controlled the oil that was initially discharged into the navigable waters of this state or caused the initial discharge or initial threat of discharge of the oil into the navigable waters of this state.
The bracketed language indicates the correct cross-reference. Section 144.76 (3) was renumbered by 1995 Wis. Act 227
Whose act or omission involves gross negligence or reckless, wanton or intentional misconduct.
Who causes personal injury or wrongful death.
A person under sub. (3) (a)
is liable for any damages or removal costs that another person is immune from under sub. (2)
Nothing in this section affects the responsibility of a person under sub. (3) (a)
to fulfill that person's requirements under s. 144.76
The bracketed language indicates the correct cross-reference. Section 144.76 was renumbered by 1995 Wis. Act 227
History: 1995 a. 192
Damages; unauthorized release of animals. 895.57(2)
A person who intentionally releases an animal that is lawfully confined for scientific, farming, companionship or protection of persons or property, recreation, restocking, research, exhibition, commercial or educational purposes, acting without the consent of the owner or custodian of the animal, is liable to the owner or custodian of the animal for damages, which shall include the costs of restoring the animal to confinement.
(3) Subsection (2)
does not apply to any humane officer, local health officer, peace officer, employe of the department of natural resources while on any land licensed under s. 29.52
or designated as a wildlife refuge under s. 29.57 (1)
or employe of the department of agriculture, trade and consumer protection if the officer's or employe's acts are in good faith and in an apparently authorized and reasonable fulfillment of his or her duties.
Government employer retaliation prohibited. 895.65(1)(a)
"Disciplinary action" means any action taken with respect to an employe which has the effect, in whole or in part, of a penalty.
"Employe" means any person employed by any governmental unit except:
A person employed by the office of the governor, the courts, the legislature or a service agency under subch. IV of ch. 13
A person who is, or whose immediate supervisor is, assigned to an executive salary group under s. 20.923
"Governmental unit" means any association, authority, board, commission, department, independent agency, institution, office, society or other body in state government created or authorized to be created by the constitution or any law, including the legislature, the office of the governor and the courts. "Governmental unit" does not mean the University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority or any political subdivision of the state or body within one or more political subdivisions which is created by law or by action of one or more political subdivisions.
"Information" means information gained by the employe which the employe reasonably believes demonstrates:
A violation of any state or federal law, rule or regulation.
Mismanagement or abuse of authority in state government, a substantial waste of public funds or a danger to public health and safety.
An employe may bring an action in circuit court against his or her employer or employer's agent, including this state, if the employer or employer's agent retaliates, by engaging in a disciplinary action, against the employe because the employe exercised his or her rights under the first amendment to the U.S. constitution
or article I, section 3, of the Wisconsin constitution
by lawfully disclosing information or because the employer or employer's agent believes the employe so exercised his or her rights. The employe shall bring the action within 2 years after the action allegedly occurred or after the employe learned of the action, whichever occurs last. No employe may bring an action against the department of employment relations as an employer's agent.
If, following the close of all evidence in an action under this section, a court or jury finds that retaliation was the primary factor in an employer's or employer's agent's decision to engage in a disciplinary action, the court or jury may not consider any evidence offered by the employer or employer's agent that the employer or employer's agent would have engaged in the disciplinary action even if the employe had not disclosed, or the employer or employer's agent had not believed the employe disclosed, the information.
If the court or jury finds that the employer or employer's agent retaliated against the employe, the court shall take any appropriate action, including but not limited to the following:
Order placement of the employe in his or her previous position with or without back pay.
Order transfer of the employe to an available position for which the employe is qualified within the same governmental unit.
Order expungement of adverse material relating to the retaliatory action or threat from the employe's personnel file.
Order the employer to pay compensatory damages.
Order the employer to pay the employe's reasonable attorney fees.
Order the employer or employer's agent to insert a copy of the court order into the employe's personnel file.
Recommend to the employer that disciplinary or other action be taken regarding the employer's agent, including but not limited to any of the following:
Placement of information describing the agent's action in his or her personnel file.
Domestic abuse services; prohibited disclosures.