Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 1921(b). "Every statute shall be construed, if possible, to give effect to all its provisions." 1 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 1921(a). See Livingston v. Pennsylvania Power & Light Co., 609 F. Supp. 643 (E.D. Pa. 1985). The clear language of the statute provides that "an owner of land owes no duty of care to keep the premises safe for entry or use by others for recreational purposes. . . ." § 477-3. Subdivision 4 of the Act then further provides that an owner who directly or indirectly invites or permits a person to use the property for recreational purposes does not extend any assurance that the premises are safe nor confer upon that person the status of invitee or licensee to whom a duty of care is owed. § 477-4. The court's reading of §§ 477-3 and 477-4 is that an owner of land owes no duty of care to those who use the land for recreational purposes, and further, the landowner does not incur liability to one injured using his land for recreational purposes by virtue of the fact that the person was directly or indirectly invited or permitted onto the land. Thus, the court views § 477-4 as a further extension of immunity, in other words, a catch-all provision. Were those circumstances in which the owner invited or permitted a person to use his land covered by § 477-3, there would be no need for § 477-4. While the purpose of the Act is to encourage landowners to open their land to others, the clear language of the statute provides that an owner of land, regardless of whether he holds open his land to others, owes no duty of care to keep the premises safe for entry or use by others for recreational purposes. § 477-3.
The court's view that the stated purpose of the Act is not determinative of the Act's applicability is strengthened by the reasoning set forth in Hahn v. United States, 493 F. Supp. 57 (M.D. Pa. 1980). In Hahn, the plaintiff argued that because the United States was bound to hold certain lands open to the public, it did not hold its land open in response to the Act and, therefore, the immunity conferred by the Act should not apply. The Court rejected this argument and held that the Act was available to the United States. See also, Smith, supra.
It is the court's interpretation that the clear and unambiguous provisions of the Act shield PG&W from any liability except for injury arising from willful or malicious conduct. Plaintiff conceded that there was no evidence of any willful activity. Transcript of Oral Argument, Document 33 of the Record at 20. Thus, the court concludes that pursuant to the Pennsylvania Recreation Use of Land and Water Act, PG&W is immunized from liability.
Assuming arguendo that the Act did not apply, plaintiff's legal status would be no more than a trespasser. Unquestionably, PG&W did not expressly condone plaintiff's presence on its land nor is there any evidence that PG&W, by its conduct, led plaintiff to believe that he had PG&W's permission to be on the land. The fact that plaintiff thought it was permissible does not raise his status to that of invitee or licensee. Again, the court notes that plaintiff has failed to cite any support for his theory that it is his subjective belief which determines his status.
Plaintiff conceded at oral argument that if he were a trespasser, then PG&W's liability would be equivalent to its liability if the Act applied. A landowner owes no duty to a trespasser except for injuries arising from willful or malicious conduct. None being present here, PG&W is not liable for plaintiff's injury.
An appropriate Order will enter.
[EDITOR' NOTE: PAGINATION IN THE HARD COPY SOURCE ENDS AT THIS POINT.]
In accordance with the reasoning set forth in the accompanying Memorandum, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED THAT defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment is granted and judgment is hereby entered in favor of the defendant and against the plaintiff.