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WI Immunity Statutes Provide Blockade to Persons Injured Storming the Bastille

By Keith Stachowiak on July 8, 2014 // Leave a Comment

festival-image.jpgOver two hundred years ago, on July 14, 1789, the French stormed the Bastille prison and began the French Revolution. To commemorate this historic event, Milwaukee is celebrating its 33rd annual Bastille Days from July 10 through July 13. The festival has a French theme and offers activities for people of all ages.

Bastille Days features live entertainment, wine tastings, kids’ activities on Saturday, excellent French food, and even a 5K run and 2-mile walk. The festival is located in the heart of downtown Milwaukee, in City parks, on City sidewalks, and on City roadways. While the roads are blocked off from the danger of vehicle traffic causing injury to pedestrians, pot holes in the roads, hazards in the parks, and uneven sidewalks may cause injury to pedestrians. If you are injured at Bastille Days, two potential immunities may prevent any recovery for your personal injuries.

Recreational Immunity

First, Bastille Days is run by a non-profit corporation where no admission fee is charged. As a result, some activities at the festival are probably considered recreational activities. Therefore, both the City and the organization running the festival may be immune from tort liability under Wisconsin’s Recreational Immunity Statute. Wis. Stat. § 895.52

Government immunity

Second, because the festival is located on City property, the government is also potentially immune from liability. Wis. Stat. § 893.80. Government entities are afforded immunity whenever there is a discretionary act by or on behalf of the government. Using a pot hole in the road as an example, there is some discretion as to when and how the government acts in order to repair the pot holes. In order for a claim to succeed against a governmental entity, the government must have a ministerial duty. A ministerial duty is a duty that is “absolute, certain, and imperative” and a duty that is imposed by law to define when and how the government must perform a specific task. Brown v. Acuity, 2013 WI 60, ¶ 73, 348 Wis. 2d 603, 623-24, 833 N.W.2d 96, 106. There may be injuries caused at this festival that are not covered by government immunity, but this would be a very fact intensive analysis.

An additional requirement under the governmental immunity statute is to provide notice to the governmental entity that caused the injury within 120 days of the event. Because of the strict notice requirements, it is important to inquire about the nature of your claim. The experienced attorneys at Murphy & Prachthauser can help assess whether either of the Wisconsin immunity statutes would bar your recovery.

Think Safety First to Prevent Injury

Therefore, in order to recover for a personal injury sustained at Bastille Days, you would likely have to get around one if not both the recreational immunity and government immunity statutes. When you get to Bastille Days, enjoy the festivities. But, remember to watch your step to avoid injury and any problems recovering under the Wisconsin immunity statutes. Both statutes provide significant blockades to persons injured while celebrating at Bastille Days. Again, these statutes also make time of the essence. If you are injured, act quickly and call Murphy & Prachthauser for a free evaluation of your claim .

To learn more about Bastille Days, visit the event website at http://www.easttown.com/events/bastille-days

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