Okla. House Committee Approves Bill Protecting Charities

March 8, 2006

Legislation that would protect charities from frivolous lawsuits and eliminate the need for those groups to purchase costly liability insurance passed the Oklahoma House Judiciary committee.

House Bill 2477, by State Rep. Wade Rousselot, protects charitable organizations from being sued unless they are blatantly negligent. The bill passed unanimously out of the House Judiciary committee and now will proceed to the full Oklahoma House of Representatives.

Rousselot said the bill was requested by a charitable organization in his district that raises money for special athletics.

“The motorcycle group composed of military veterans known as ‘Rolling Thunder’ hosts many fundraisers for charitable organizations. These events can raise a lot of money but due to potential legal liability the organization has to purchase expensive insurance,” said Rousselot, D-Okay. “These charitable organizations are raising money for good causes but have to pay more for insurance than what they raise, so it defeats the group’s purpose.”

House Bill 2477 is similar to the Limited Liability Livestock Protection Act, which protects agricultural businesses (such as trail rides) from frivolous lawsuits.

“When people agree to ride a horse, they are aware of the potential risk involved and, if a horse gets spooked and throws a rider, there’s no legal liability unless the business owner is negligent,” said Rousselot. “Charities deserve the same protection. They are providing a great service to this state and we should do everything possible to support them and help them continue their work.”

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