The courts disagreed whether that activity falls under any other outdoor recreational use in Michigan's Recreational Land Use Act
. The Benzie County Circuit Court ruled for the defendant in that the beach activities could be included under any other outdoor recreational use, but a Michigan Court of Appeals panel reversed when ruling that the activities didn't fall in that category under RUA.
The panel held that the GTLA controlled because it had been more recently enacted than the recreational land use act. It reasoned that the legislature was aware of the recreational land use act, but did not make an exception for it.
The second is the recreational land use act, which limits landowner liability, except in cases of gross negligence or willful and wanton misconduct.
In the present case, plaintiffs brought suit against Ypsilanti Township under the recreational land use act, and the township responded by asserting governmental immunity under the GTLA.
According to plaintiffs, the GTLA is the general act, and the recreational land use act is the more specific, making the latter an exception to the general grant of immunity under the GTLA.
Next the Michigan Supreme Court considered whether the recreational land use act gives rise to a necessary inference that the legislature intended to waive the state's immunity to liability and found no conflict between the recreational land use act and the governmental tort liability act.
First, it found that the recreational land use act does not apply to public property.
The recreational land use act passed in 1953 in response to fears that potential negligence liability would discourage property owners from allowing others to use their property for recreational purposes.
Finally, the recreational land use act is a liability-limiting, as contrasted with a liability-imposing, act.