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I'm interested in placing a cache at a local landmark in my area. I actually am visiting the location tonight to hopefully talk to the owner with whom I've exchanged a few emails. The main concern they've voiced in our emails has been liability. That if somebody gets hurt on their property while hunting the cache they would be liable. I'm sure that others who have requested permission have run into this same issue. What should I tell them to ease their concerns?

 

 

This is likely going to be a 1/1 regular hide, so no rough terrain will be involved. But with the way the legal system works nowadays I certainly understand their concern.

 

 

Any suggestions or explanation of how you may have handled this in the past are appreciated.

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Excellent thread. I am also concerned about this.

 

One of our future planned hides is at a private pond. Nothing dangerous about the pond. I have received permission from the owner, but i still worry.

 

I know there is a disclaimer on the web site. I am not a lawyer but in my eyes that only protects groundpseak and no one else.

 

I remember someone put a disclaimer on their caches. Maybe it will come up again. (Even if you had one-i wonder how much it would/could really do.)

 

I wonder if a hide with permission would be viewed like people that put of a "beware of dog" sign. If that dog bites you have nothing to fall back on- you had a sign out, you must have known.

 

I am looking forward to some answers on your questions. Thanks for the thought provoking thread.

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The state's recreational use statute ought to apply. Somewhere out there, there's a thread with a link to a website that collects these statutes.

 

 

Good call Keystone, I had no idea this existed. Looking at section 6, it seems that as long is there is no charge to use the private land...no liability exists unless it's malicious. I'm no lawyer, but this seems to be worded pretty simply.

 

 

http://tarlton.law.utexas.edu/dawson/recreate/pa_rec.htm

 

 

<H2 align=center>Pennsylvania Recreational Use Statute</H2>

PENNSYLVANIA STATUTES

TITLE 68. REAL AND PERSONAL PROPERTY

CHAPTER 11. USES OF PROPERTY

RECREATION USE OF LAND AND WATER

477-1. Purpose; liability

 

The purpose of this act is to encourage owners of land to make land and water areas available to the public for recreational purposes by limiting their liability toward persons entering thereon for such purposes.

 

477-2. Definitions

 

As used in this act:

 

(1) "LAND" means land, roads, water, watercourses, private ways and buildings, structures and machinery or equipment when attached to the realty.

 

(2) "OWNER" means the possessor of a fee interest, a tenant, lessee, occupant or person in control of the premises.

 

(3) "Recreational purpose" includes, but is not limited to, any of the following, or any combination thereof: hunting, fishing, swimming, boating, camping, picnicking, hiking, pleasure driving, nature study, water skiing, water sports, cave exploration and viewing or enjoying historical, archaeological, scenic, or scientific sites.

 

(4) "CHARGE" means the admission price or fee asked in return for invitation or permission to enter or go upon the land.

 

477-3. Duty to keep premises safe; warning

 

Except as specifically recognized or provided in section 6 of this act, an owner of land owes no duty of care to keep the premises safe for entry or use by others for recreational purposes, or to give any warning of a dangerous condition, use, structure, or activity on such premises to persons entering for such purposes.

 

477-4. Assurance of safe premises; duty of care; responsibility, liability

 

Except as specifically recognized by or provided in section 6 of this act, an owner of land who either directly or indirectly invites or permits without charge any person to use such property for recreational purposes does not thereby:

 

(1) Extend any assurance that the premises are safe for any purpose.

 

(2) Confer upon such person the legal status of an invitee or licensee to whom a duty of care is owed.

 

(3) Assume responsibility for or incur liability for any injury to persons or property caused by an act of omission of such persons.

 

477-5. Land leased to State or subdivision

 

Unless otherwise agreed in writing, the provisions of sections 3 and 4 of this act shall be deemed applicable to the duties and liability of an owner of land leased to the State or any subdivision thereof for recreational purposes.

 

477-6. Liability not limited

 

Nothing in this act limits in any way any liability which otherwise exists:

 

(1) For wilful or malicious failure to guard or warn against a dangerous condition, use, structure, or activity.

 

(2) For injury suffered in any case where the owner of land charges the person or persons who enter or go on the land for the recreational use thereof, except that in the case of land leased to the State or a subdivision thereof, any consideration received by the owner for such lease shall not be deemed a charge within the meaning of this section.

 

 

477-7. Construction of act

 

Nothing in this act shall be construed to:

 

(1) Create a duty of care or ground of liability for injury to persons or property.

 

(2) Relieve any person using the land of another for recreational purposes from any obligation which he may have in the absence of this act to exercise care in his use of such land and in his activities thereon, or from the legal consequences of failure to employ such care.

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I wonder about those in other states?

According to the DNR officer I spoke two Indiana also protects landowners from liability when their land is used for recreational purposes.

My land has 3 caches, a Cub Scout troop uses if for campouts, and a group of local paintballers are using it for a practice field now. I'm happy to be able to help these people out, but without the liability protection I wouldn't have dared to do it.

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if your thinking about hiding a cache along a route or highway

you must there state propteries out there but there are public lands you might want to call the

state land dept about hiding your cache.

they love it when some one ask permission.

In the fall I going ask the city parks dept about hiding cache around where I live

I'm sure I can order 3 ammo cans or boxes

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I remember someone put a disclaimer on their caches. Maybe it will come up again. (Even if you had one-i wonder how much it would/could really do.)

 

Howabout this one?

 

Disclaimer:

 

This cache was rated using the official geocache rating system. The following persons should not attempt this cache:

 

Children * Elderly People * Out of Shape People

but most importantly, no

Whiners, Crybabies, and Wusses.

 

 

 

michelle

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The main concern they've voiced in our emails has been liability. That if somebody gets hurt on their property while hunting the cache they would be liable. I'm sure that others who have requested permission have run into this same issue. What should I tell them to ease their concerns?

 

If someone falls and hurts himself on the property, does it matter whether he is there to find the cache or to look at the landmark? I would think the liability would be the same in either case.

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Most of the time, one has liability when the courts say you do. Do we have exposure to liability? Yes. And, there is nothing that will take that exposure away. If someone were to sue you, even if you win, it may cost you quite a bit of money. The nature of such a case- you would most likely be covered under your homeowners policy.

 

Even putting a disclaimer on something does not limit your liability. It may help, but only the judge will determine ...

 

We have 100,000 times more exposure to a law suit when we drive our cars! We still drive our cars every day!

 

Just a few cents worth :unsure:

 

Chip

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I remember someone put a disclaimer on their caches. Maybe it will come up again. (Even if you had one-i wonder how much it would/could really do.)

 

Howabout this one?

 

Disclaimer:

 

This cache was rated using the official geocache rating system. The following persons should not attempt this cache:

 

Children * Elderly People * Out of Shape People

but most importantly, no

Whiners, Crybabies, and Wusses.

 

 

 

michelle

 

I remember that one. I dnf'ed it because my wife was being a whiner and Crybabie. You archived it before I got a chance to come back on my own and resolve the DNF :lol:

 

Personally, I like Eraseek's Disclaimer:

 

"Cache seekers assume all risks and responsibilities involved in seeking this and any cache."

"May also encounter HOT coffee ~D (which may be HOT) while driving to and from cache." :unsure:

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Except as specifically recognized by or provided in section 6 of this act, an owner of land who either directly or indirectly invites or permits without charge any person to use such property for recreational purposes does not thereby:

 

(1) Extend any assurance that the premises are safe for any purpose.

 

(2) Confer upon such person the legal status of an invitee

 

I think the cache owner might still be liable since they are placing a cache and those entering upon the landowner's lands might argue they are invitees, not of the landowner but of the cache owner. If the court considered the owner of the cache as the "inviter" a person seeking the cache might be an "invitee" to whom a duty of care is afforded.

 

I really don't want to find out. ;)

 

Does anyone know if a cache seeker has sued a cache hider?

 

I wonder about this because I do have caches that contain "disclaimers" and I know the disclaimers would afford no real protection if it came to adjudication, the judge decides.

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I wonder about this because I do have caches that contain "disclaimers" and I know the disclaimers would afford no real protection if it came to adjudication, the judge decides.

 

I have included "disclaimers" on a couple of my caches MOSTLY as a joke and a warning... as the cacher, you shouldn't get too p*ssy on me when you get wet, or fall off the log at the top of the falls (afaik, I'm the only one who fell) because this ain't yo mama's skirt-lifting parking lot hide.

 

Not so much because I'd like that disclaimer to free me from all liability if someone goes after the cache... although that would be nice now, wouldn't it?

 

I've got two hides coming up that are pretty dangerous - not 5*'s but for people who have a fear of falling, or are elderly (which a lot of cachers seem to be locally) or always bring their kids with them... - I am currently contemplating how I should go about listing those to make sure these things are understood before someone makes the trip TO the cache location as they are both out in the boonies.

 

 

michelle

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I think the cache owner might still be liable since they are placing a cache and those entering upon the landowner's lands might argue they are invitees, not of the landowner but of the cache owner. If the court considered the owner of the cache as the "inviter" a person seeking the cache might be an "invitee" to whom a duty of care is afforded.

 

They are not invitees they are cachers -coordinates came specifically from geocaching.com- and as such they had to read and agree to geocaching.com disclaimer before receiving those coordinates.

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Except as specifically recognized by or provided in section 6 of this act, an owner of land who either directly or indirectly invites or permits without charge any person to use such property for recreational purposes does not thereby:

 

(1) Extend any assurance that the premises are safe for any purpose.

 

(2) Confer upon such person the legal status of an invitee

 

I think the cache owner might still be liable since they are placing a cache and those entering upon the landowner's lands might argue they are invitees, not of the landowner but of the cache owner. If the court considered the owner of the cache as the "inviter" a person seeking the cache might be an "invitee" to whom a duty of care is afforded.

 

I really don't want to find out. :laughing:

 

Does anyone know if a cache seeker has sued a cache hider?

 

I wonder about this because I do have caches that contain "disclaimers" and I know the disclaimers would afford no real protection if it came to adjudication, the judge decides.

 

Rumor has it that someone in the UK did, or started too.

 

As for the liability question, most states Recreational laws should apply since if no fee is charged, the law states that no duty of care is owed. Naturally it won't be as simple as that, but it should be.

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I think the cache owner might still be liable since they are placing a cache and those entering upon the landowner's lands might argue they are invitees, not of the landowner but of the cache owner. If the court considered the owner of the cache as the "inviter" a person seeking the cache might be an "invitee" to whom a duty of care is afforded.

 

They are not invitees they are cachers -coordinates came specifically from geocaching.com- and as such they had to read and agree to geocaching.com disclaimer before receiving those coordinates.

 

Cache owners are the content providers, not geocaching.com. Geocaching.com is not liable for the content on this listing service, cache owners are. Under Section 203 of the Communications Decency Act the content provider and the service provider are distinct entities and the content provider is liable for all content, the service provider is held blameless. Service providers like Yahoo or YouTube have been sued numerous times and US courts have been unequivocal in supporting the distinction each time it has been tested. If you post objectionable content in a Yahoo chat room, Yahoo is not guilty of distributing the content, you are, Yahoo is off the hook. This listing service has made it very clear that day to day control over the cache is the owners care and reasponsibility, the content on this website is provided by the cache owners, not by geocaching.com.

If someone is going to get successfully sued it will most certainly not be this listing service.

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Rumor has it that someone in the UK did, or started too.

 

As for the liability question, most states Recreational laws should apply since if no fee is charged, the law states that no duty of care is owed. Naturally it won't be as simple as that, but it should be.

 

The recreational laws were designed to open up access to lands by removing the landowners liability. The laws which normally pertain to landowners are held as inapplicable in regards to recreational access. The same laws do not apply generally, they apply specifically to landowners who allow recreational use of their land. Geocache owners may be exempted by recreational laws if the cache is on their land, if the cache is not on their land then the recreational laws that apply to landowners would not be applicable.

 

I have a cache placed on public land for which no specific permission was obtained. The cache could be hazardous (could be). The landowner of record (the county) isn't even aware the cache is there and the recreational statutes would likely apply, to the landowner. Since I am the content provider and the cache is a de facto invitation I imagine a judge might well decide I did act as an inviter even though I have no right to do so (not being the landowner). What is clear is that the recreational statutes I have seen do not apply to cache owners since they do not own the land.

 

I am certain that this will be tested in law.

Many cache seekers feel that there is some type of official infrastructure into which geocaches fit, there isn't and they don't, every cache is owned by the cache owner who provided the content. It is only a matter of time before a seeker decides that geocaching.com is reponsible for some injury received while caching, ostensibly because that is where they got the information.

Edited by wavector
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I think the cache owner might still be liable since they are placing a cache and those entering upon the landowner's lands might argue they are invitees, not of the landowner but of the cache owner. If the court considered the owner of the cache as the "inviter" a person seeking the cache might be an "invitee" to whom a duty of care is afforded.

 

They are not invitees they are cachers -coordinates came specifically from geocaching.com- and as such they had to read and agree to geocaching.com disclaimer before receiving those coordinates.

 

Cache owners are the content providers, not geocaching.com. Geocaching.com is not liable for the content on this listing service, cache owners are. Under Section 203 of the Communications Decency Act the content provider and the service provider are distinct entities and the content provider is liable for all content, the service provider is held blameless. Service providers like Yahoo or YouTube have been sued numerous times and US courts have been unequivocal in supporting the distinction each time it has been tested. If you post objectionable content in a Yahoo chat room, Yahoo is not guilty of distributing the content, you are, Yahoo is off the hook. This listing service has made it very clear that day to day control over the cache is the owners care and reasponsibility, the content on this website is provided by the cache owners, not by geocaching.com.

If someone is going to get successfully sued it will most certainly not be this listing service.

 

I just don't think you can call a cacher an "invitee" because they are "invited" to hunt for a cache. If the cache coordinates were just posted on the internet with an invitation to come find it, then maybe. But here you cannot get the coordinates, they are not disclosed, without first agreeing to accept all the consequences of hunting for it. It's that extra little step- that action that they must take before looking for the cache- that seems to me to make a cacher more than just an invitee.

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Maybe we are all getting too carried away. We all know what the risks are. It's just like golfing (I don't golf). But, I you go out in a thunderstorm with a piece of metal in your hand and are struck by lightning are you going to sue the golfcourse? You know the risks of the sport that you participate in. You assume those risks. Now, if someone puts a cache up on the cross beam of a high tension power line then I can see where you might have a case. But, then again. Who would be stupid enough to go after it?

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Maybe we are all getting too carried away. We all know what the risks are.

 

The person placing the cache may be aware of risks and the person hunting the cache may not be. The person who creates the risk is the cache placer. The people suing may be the "family of the deceased" and they may not know what any of the risks are.

 

I have a cache placed underwater, if someone was to drown while trying to retrieve the cache I might get sued, the disclaimers would not invalidate the lawsuit and in fact might help make the case, "he knew it was dangerous, look at all the warnings on the cache page."

 

If I placed a cache called "killer bees" near an African honeybee hive or placed one called "fire ants" near an infestation of fire ants the disclaimers might not protect me if someone died, it is likely the landowner would be protected by the recreational statute but I have no such protection because I am not a landowner, furthermore my cache might be considered an invitation to seekers and I might be considered an inviter with a legal duty of care.

 

I think it is only a matter of time before this is tested in a court case.

Discussing it in the forums may help a cache hider avoid getting sued so it actually is a good subject.

 

This listing service is well protected and a lawsuit against a listing ervice provider would likely be an expensive failure, this has been tested in law numerous times. Lawsuits against content providers are often successful and we are the content providers when we are discussing our caches.

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After years of dealing with youth groups, I was told by a lawyer that all the waviers we were instructed to get signed by the kids parents didn't amout to diddley. He also included disclaimers.

I was told fairly early in my career as a scout leader that the waivers and disclaimers do serve one purpose--they help to make people think they may have signed away their right to suit, so fewer people chose to bring suit in the first place. We were also told that while they might not carry great weight, they do provide evidence that parents/paticipants were warned about the obvious risks, and chose to attend the event anyway--and they provided documentation that at least some thought had been given to making sure there were responsible adults in charge, a reasonable course of action was planned, and a standard emergency plan had been considered.

 

No form or contract prevents you from being sued if you knew there was a risk and didn't warn someone, or if you knew something was faulty, in shoddy repair, or otherwise dangerous and didn't try to mitigate the problem. In other words, they told us, "the forms may not mean much just because we had one signed, but if something happened, be sure you aren't caught without one!"

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Sorry, I got carried away answering that last bit.... I meant to say this:

 

When I was discussing a possible cache with a local land owner for one of my hides they asked about liability. I pointed them to the disclaimer on every cache page and to the state liability laws, as well as to one of the earlier discussions about this same subject here on the forums. I also promised to remove it immediately at the first sign of a problem or complaint. That satisfied the land owner, and they cheerfully granted me permission for the hide. It's been well received ever since.

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It is my layman's understanding that anyone can sue anyone for anything. Where the liabity danger lies is in malicious intent or abject neglete wherein you lead someone into a "known" "hidden" danger without warning them. (ie. a grass covered hidden well in a field.)

 

My current disclaimer that I use for my most challenging caches is not just a disclaimer but a way to make the hunter understand beforehand that it is their choice to proceed. They don't have to look for my caches. This is where I have been, repeating my adventure your choice alone:

 

"Cache seekers (hold harmless the cache owner) and assumes all risks and responsibilities involved in seeking this cache." The decisions you make and actions you take are yours.

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It is my layman's understanding that anyone can sue anyone for anything. Where the liabity danger lies is in malicious intent or abject neglete wherein you lead someone into a "known" "hidden" danger without warning them. (ie. a grass covered hidden well in a field.)

 

My current disclaimer that I use for my most challenging caches is not just a disclaimer but a way to make the hunter understand beforehand that it is their choice to proceed. They don't have to look for my caches. This is where I have been, repeating my adventure your choice alone:

 

"Cache seekers (hold harmless the cache owner) and assumes all risks and responsibilities involved in seeking this cache." The decisions you make and actions you take are yours.

 

I tend to be over protective and list any and all foreseeable problems with my caches. It makes my cache sound like it is in trecherous terrain with wild animals all around. I can only imagine the surprise when they find the cache behind a tree at the edge of a mowed field.

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I'm interested in placing a cache at a local landmark in my area. I actually am visiting the location tonight to hopefully talk to the owner with whom I've exchanged a few emails. The main concern they've voiced in our emails has been liability. That if somebody gets hurt on their property while hunting the cache they would be liable. I'm sure that others who have requested permission have run into this same issue. What should I tell them to ease their concerns?

 

 

This is likely going to be a 1/1 regular hide, so no rough terrain will be involved. But with the way the legal system works nowadays I certainly understand their concern.

 

 

Any suggestions or explanation of how you may have handled this in the past are appreciated.

 

This is an awesome discussion! It should be brought up in local group meetings I think. Maybe even an attorney can explain liabilities to a group of geocachers at a meeting.

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