Garden tour slip and fall

Through garden tours and charitable dinners, Chrissie D’Esopo has raised some $175,000 over the years at her beautiful home in Avon, Ct., near Hartford. Following a lawsuit over a slip and fall — not to mention the claim filed by the visitor’s uninjured husband — she’s decided to call it quits, but might reconsider on hearing of a recently passed Connecticut recreational-immunity law that extends legal protection to property owners who do not profit from a visitor’s presence. Notes a commenter: “This is why we can’t have nice things.” [Hartford Courant]


  • I explain to all my guests that if they injure themselves on my property, I will have to kill them and move the body elsewhere.


  • Would the recreational immunity law really protect the homeowner here? As a general rule these sorts of statutory immunization attempts are not too helpful in stopping nuisance slip-and-fall type lawsuits. Here, I believe the article said the claim was for $175K and that the law immunizes certain non-profit homeowners.

    All a plaintiff’s attorney would have to do is plead that the homeowners did not fall within the ambit of the statute – for example, here, by pleading that the homeowners profited from the tour. Since the plaintiffs also named the charities for whose benefit the tour was conducted, it seems clear enough the discovery costs would outweigh the $175K claim; such a pleading moreover would defeat dismissal for failure to state and might defend against certain summary dismissals. The situation is more acute for the first five or ten years after the bill’s passage, when the legal landscape and judicial interpretation is far less clear.

  • Isn’t this the kind of thing that homeowner’s insurance is supposed to cover?

  • Yes it is. It is also the kind of thing that makes homeowner’s insurance premiums skyrocket.