There are few activities in our modern world that unite old and young alike. In the wintertime, it is sledding.
For some, the tradition of making the downhill toboggan run is getting harder to accomplish.
And yes . . . you can thank your plaintiffs’ lawyers for this: More and more municipalities are banning sledding on public property due to increased risk of lawsuits.
Earlier this year, the city council in Dubuque, Iowa, banned sledding in 48 of its 50 parks because of the costs to insure against litigation.
Nearby Boone, Iowa, paid $12 million on a sledding claim. In neighboring Omaha, a sledding collision cost the city $2 million.
Dubuque’s mayor says the city didn’t want to restrict sledding, but was forced to because state lawmakers haven’t protected cities from frivolous lawsuits.
“With regard to municipalities and lawsuits, the exposure begins from day one,” said Lisa Taylor, an attorney with Henderson Adam, LLC. “Typically, the municipality has to hire what’s called an outside counsel who does not work directly for that municipality.
“Those costs,” said Taylor, “end up back in the taxpayers’ lap.”