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Re: Lawsuits / Liability in Community Gardens

  • Subject: Re: [cg] Lawsuits / Liability in Community Gardens
  • From: Adam36055@aol.com
  • Date: Thu, 16 Jun 2005 22:34:25 EDT

Re Liability: 

The way that NYC's  Clinton Community Garden has avoided dog generated 
lawsuits has been to keep them banned from the garden.  In addition to keeping dog 
feces and urine out of plantings, food beds, etc, somebody's beloved pit bull 
doesn't eviscerate someone's kid. 

This is common sense. And common sense is key to maintaining a safely 
maintained volunteer run public space. 

A decent paralegal can do a web search through Lexis for any "community 
garden liabiliity law," but my guesstimate is that there ain't much court law 
relating to community gardens. 

In addition to making sure that all garden rules are posted in the garden in 
the language of the community ( the Clinton Community Garden has it's rules 
posted in English, Spanich and Arabic) all folks who have keys to the garden 
need to have read and agreed to the garden rules via a keyholder agreement ( the 
CCG has over 5,000 of these signed by keyholders - this is doable. ) 

Many gardens also have an " at your own risk," clause in their written 
agreements and in their signage.  But....all the written rules mean nothing without 
gardeners being careful with tools, rolling up garden hoses, and being clear 
about visitors and visitor's children not runnning about the garden or engaging 
in any unsafe activities. 
Good governance, consistantly maintained garden rules and safe commonsense 
 practices can keep lawsuits and liability issues to a minmum in citizen 
maintained public spaces like community gardens. 

Best wishes, \
Adam Honigman
 Clinton Community Garden 

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