MARGIE M. LOCKNER, Respondent,
PIERCE COUNTY and BLAIR SMITH, Petitioners.
case asks us to clarify the scope of Washington's
recreational use immunity statute, RCW
4.24.210. Margie Lockner was injured when she fell
from her bicycle on a trail maintained by Pierce County
(County). Lockner sued the County for negligence. Finding
that recreational use immunity precluded her suit because the
unintentional injury happened on land open to the public for
recreational use without a fee, the trial court dismissed
Lockner's claim on summary judgment. The Court of Appeals
reversed, mistakenly relying on the dissent in this
court's opinion in Camicia v. Howards. Wright Constr.
Co., 179 Wn.2d 684, 687, 317 P.3d 987 (2014), to hold
that a question of fact remained as to whether the trail was
open to the public for "solely" recreational use.
more than incidental recreational use may be required, sole
recreational use is not required before conferring immunity
to landowners. In addition, RCW 4.24.210 immunity is not
limited to premises liability claims. It also extends to
negligence actions. We therefore reverse the Court of Appeals
in part and reinstate summary judgment for the County.
summer day in 2013, Lockner and her niece went for a bicycle
ride on the Foothills Trail. While Lockner rode behind her
niece, both cyclists approached a riding lawn mower cutting
grass and moving in the same direction beside the trail. As
Lockner passed the lawn mower, it allegedly expelled a cloud
of dust and debris. Lockner shielded her face and swerved,
"clip[ping] her niece's bike." Clerk's
Papers (CP) at 3. Lockner fell and injured her knee and
Foothills Trail is a nonmotorized asphalt trail alongside a
soft shoulder path for equestrian use. Pierce County's
website for the trail describes it as a "popular
commuter route and recreational destination for
bicyclists." Id. at 62. In its regional plan,
the County envisions that its trail system will become a
network for recreation, provide "transportation routes,
" id. at 69, and connect the County to other
County Parks and Recreation officials have stated that the
section of the Foothills Trail where Lockner was injured was
designed and maintained for recreational use. This section is
open for recreation between 8:00 AM and 5:00 PM.
filed a negligence suit against the County and its employee,
the lawn mower operator. The County moved for summary
judgment, arguing that recreational immunity precluded the
claim. The trial court granted the County's motion.
appealed. The Court of Appeals reversed summary judgment,
concluding that pursuant to Camicia, recreational
use immunity could not be determined as a matter of law
because there was a disputed issue of material fact as to
whether the trail was open "solely" for
recreational use. Lockner v. Pierce County, 198
Wn.App. 907, 908, 396 P.3d 389 (2017) (citing
Camicia, 179 Wn.2d at 687). The County sought
review. Lockner, in turn, asked this court to examine whether
RCW 4.24.210 extends immunity to negligence actions. We
granted review of both issues. Lockner v. Pierce
County, 189 Wn.2d 1009, 403 P.3d 45 (2017).
review a grant of summary judgment de novo. Campbell v.
Ticor Title Ins. Co., 166 Wn.2d 466, 470, 209 P.3d 859
(2009). Summary judgment is appropriate when there are no
genuine issues of material fact and the moving party is
entitled to judgment as a matter of law. CR 56(c). When
making this determination, we consider all the facts and make
all reasonable factual inferences in the light most favorable
to the nonmoving party. Young v. Key Pharm., Inc.,
112 Wn.2d 216, 226, 770 P.2d 182 (1989).
Recreational Immunity Applies to Pierce County
urges us to affirm the Court of Appeals. She contends that
the court properly applied Camicia to require land
to be used for "solely" recreational purposes to
obtain immunity. See Lockner, 198 Wn.App. at 912-16.
The County and amici, on the other hand, argue that the Court
of Appeals misconstrued Camicia and relied on
language from its dissenting opinion-which the majority did
not endorse-that RCW 4.24.210 does not mandate
"solely" recreational use. Id. (citing 179
Wn.2d at 703-04 (Madsen, C.J., dissenting)). The County is
correct. For the reasons set forth below, we conclude that
neither the plain language of RCW 4.24.210 nor our opinion in
Camicia preconditions recreational use immunity on
land being used solely for recreational purposes.
case concerns aspects of the scope of immunity under RCW
4.24.210. Statutory interpretation is a question of law,
which we review de novo. State v. J.P., 149 Wn.2d
444, 449, 69 P.3d 318 (2003). Our starting point is the
statute's plain language and ordinary meaning.
Id. at 450. If the statute's plain language is
unambiguous, our review is at an end. Id. In