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House Bill 408 — Ski patrol, volunteer, liability

House Bill 408 — Ski patrol, volunteer, liability

Parrish Miller
January 20, 2024

Bill Description: House Bill 408 would provide limited immunity from liability for aid rendered and other acts or omissions by volunteer ski and bike patrollers. 

Rating: -1

Does it violate the principle of equal protection under the law? Examples include laws which discriminate or differentiate based on age, gender, or religion, or which apply laws, regulations, rules, or penalties differently based on such characteristics. Conversely, does it restore or protect the principle of equal protection under the law?

House Bill 408 would create Section 5-347, Idaho Code, to provide that "No action shall lie or be maintained for civil damages in any court of this state against any person or group of persons who, while acting in the capacity as a volunteer ski or bike patroller with qualifications meeting the standards of the national ski patrol system, renders or omits aid, including but not limited to first aid or emergency medical attention, to any person or persons utilizing the ski or bike patrol's services and facilities."

To be afforded this immunity, the patroller must act "without direct compensation from or on behalf of the person aided" and act "in good faith and without willful or wanton misconduct in the aid rendered or omitted."

The "Statement of Purpose" prepared by the sponsor of the bill says, "Idaho’s Good Samaritan statute is inadequate to sufficiently protect volunteer patrollers from exposure to liability." This claim underscores the problem with this bill. 

Whatever level of liability is appropriate for individuals who render aid (particularly those who do so without compensation) should be applied to all individuals who render aid. Creating a special liability shield for ski and bike patrollers that doesn't apply to other volunteers and individuals would insert an inequitable carve-out into Idaho code.


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