Greene applauds committee approval of immunity bill

HARTFORD — State Rep. Len Greene (R-105) commended the legislature’s Judiciary Committee recently after it passed a compromise bill that would grant cities and towns immunity from lawsuits filed by people injured on municipally-owned recreational land.

Greene, a co-sponsor of the bill, said the bill, H.B. 6557, closes a loophole in current state law and expands recreation opportunities across the state.

The bill was expected to go forward for a vote in the full House.

The issue grabbed headlines last year after a controversial jury verdict awarding a Rocky Hill resident nearly $3 million after she crashed her bicycle on a trail at a Metropolitan District Commission reservoir. Consequently, MDC officials, fearing a similar lawsuit in the future, threatened to padlock its various properties used by thousands of people throughout Connecticut. Municipal leaders, fearing similar lawsuits, considered making the same move.

“This bill will help keep recreational land open and available for people across the state, and that’s a great thing,” Greene said, in a prepared statement. “Granting immunity to towns and municipalities means they will not close off these areas for fear of lawsuits.”

Immunity under the bill includes municipalities, political subdivisions of the state and special districts as owners of land entitled to immunity under the Recreational Land Use Act—which does offer that protection to individuals, corporations, nonprofits and private utilities.