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New Hampshire Fish and Game Department v. Bacon

New Hampshire Supreme Court
116 A.3d 1060 (2015)


Facts

A New Hampshire law provided that if a hiker’s negligence necessitated a search-and-rescue response from the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department (plaintiff), the hiker would be liable to the Department for the costs incurred. Bacon (defendant) went on a difficult hike in the New Hampshire mountains despite having undergone multiple hip surgeries and the insertion of an artificial hip that he had dislocated five times. Extremely stormy weather, including heavy wind and heavy rain, had been forecasted for the day of Bacon’s hike, but Bacon nevertheless went on the hike as planned. On the hike, Bacon attempted to traverse a rock ledge, but fell and dislocated his hip again. Approximately 15 Department employees participated in Bacon’s rescue, some of which were already on duty at the time of the search-and-rescue mission. The Department brought suit against Bacon based on New Hampshire’s search-and-rescue law. The trial court found in favor of the Department and awarded the Department $9,186.38 based on the costs, including overtime, mileage, and benefits, for the 15 Department employees that participated in the rescue. Bacon appealed.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Lynn, J.)

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  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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