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Committee Rejects Liability Bill, Heads To Vote

A New Hampshire bill to make campgrounds immune to broad categories of liability lawsuits was rejected by the state’s House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday (April 11) in a unanimous recommendation that moves to the House floor.

Senate Bill 502, sponsored by Sen. Kevin Avard, would have given campground owners blanket immunity to all litigation that falls under the “inherent risk of camping,” shielding them from any lawsuits that don’t involve man-made structures, willful disregard, and “gross negligence” on the part of employees, according to the Concord Monitor.

Campground owners said the bill would prevent frivolous lawsuits that can prove financially destructive and have driven up insurance costs. But opponents such as the New Hampshire Association for Justice, a professional association of trial attorneys, said the bill was unnecessary and would create an impossible legal standard to meet.

“On behalf of the New Hampshire Association for Justice, we thank the House Judiciary Committee for voting to preserve the rights of citizens to pursue legal remedies in court,” said Neil Nicholson, president of the association, in a statement Wednesday.

Speaking after the vote, committee Vice Chairwoman Claire Rouillard, said she opposed what she saw as an attempt to evade liability.

“I think that individuals that go camping would like to know when they’re going into a campsite that it has been checked and that they’re safe to have their children go into the campsite,” she said.

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