Under legislation filed today by Rep. Jim Murphy (R-Houston), an electric utility located in Harris County may contract with a political subdivision to allow public access to and use of the utility’s premises for recreational purposes without assuming the risk of personal injury or property damage. HB 200 provides that a utility providing public access for recreation, exercise, relaxation, travel, or pleasure does not:
(1) assure that the premises are safe for those purposes;
(2) owe to a person entering the premises for those purposes a greater degree of care than is owed a trespasser; or
(3) assume responsibility or incur liability for personal injury, death, property damage, or the act of a third party that occurs on the premises.
The bill does not limit the liability of the utility for serious bodily injury or death of a person proximately caused by the utility’s wilful or wanton acts or gross negligence with respect to a dangerous condition existing on the premises. The limitation on liability in the bill applies only to a cause of action brought by a person who enters the premises for recreational purposes or accompanies another person entering the premises for those purposes. The bill further provides that the doctrine of attractive nuisance does not apply.
Finally, the bill allows an interlocutory appeal from a denial of a motion for summary judgment by a utility in a suit governed by this law.