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Old 13 March 2009, 03:53 PM
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Icon24 Illegal to refuse to provide drinking water in Arizona

Comment: There are various websites that I have encountered, and it has
long been "known," in the state of Arizona, that you cannot legally refuse
drinking water to a person that asks for it. Various websites claim that
is a law but provide no reference to the ARS, or Arizona Revised Statute -
I have scoured the Arizona legislative website for the ARS, but to no
avail.
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Old 13 March 2009, 04:42 PM
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I foud the Arizona Revised Statutes, but do not find anything in them about serving water.

I do not recall there being a right to be served water, especially if they are talking about an eating establishment. I believe there are statutes that can be used to prosecute an establishment (or person) that refused water to a person in obvious distress. That would not be the same thing.
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Old 14 March 2009, 07:10 PM
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I'm not familiar with any such law. This is the first I've ever heard of it as being a law either.
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Old 15 March 2009, 04:00 AM
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The original question didn't sound like it had anything to do with restaurants in particular. I took it to be in reference to someone perhaps found dying of thirst in the desert. I would think that that sort of thing might be covered in a Failure to Render Aid statute, though it seems plausible that a largely desert state like Arizona might specifically legislate against withholding water from a person in extreme thirst, if one had water to give.
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Old 23 March 2009, 09:00 PM
Recklessmess Recklessmess is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Keeper of the Mad Bunnies View Post

I believe there are statutes that can be used to prosecute an establishment (or person) that refused water to a person in obvious distress. That would not be the same thing.
Good Samaritan laws generally protect people who render aid from liability if something bad happens to the person as a result of the aid rendered, though professional customary standards still apply, ie. a doctor may not negligently provide aid. Also, you cannot leave a person in a worse position if you do tender aid, but I've never heard of any law in all my legal education that required a person to affirmatively provide any assistance, unless a special relationship existed (teacher/student, parent/child, etc).

nor do I think such a law would withstand Constitutional scrutiny.
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Old 24 March 2009, 04:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Recklessmess View Post
Good Samaritan laws generally protect people who render aid from liability if something bad happens to the person as a result of the aid rendered, though professional customary standards still apply, ie. a doctor may not negligently provide aid. Also, you cannot leave a person in a worse position if you do tender aid, but I've never heard of any law in all my legal education that required a person to affirmatively provide any assistance, unless a special relationship existed (teacher/student, parent/child, etc).

nor do I think such a law would withstand Constitutional scrutiny.
There have been attempts to pass laws making it illegal for stores to refuse a non-customer the use of a restroom in an emergency, even if that restroom is employee only.
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Old 24 March 2009, 07:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Keeper of the Mad Bunnies View Post
There have been attempts to pass laws making it illegal for stores to refuse a non-customer the use of a restroom in an emergency, even if that restroom is employee only.
You can attempt to restrict businesses from obtaining certain permits if they don't follow specific rules. For example, in NYC, restaurants that have a certain amount of seats have to have a bathroom for their customers. But, considering that Starbucks wasn't penalized legally for refusing to supply water to 9/11 rescuers, and considering that even if you did pass a criminal law, how do you enforce it? You can't send a restaurant to jail.
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Old 25 March 2009, 04:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Recklessmess View Post
You can attempt to restrict businesses from obtaining certain permits if they don't follow specific rules. For example, in NYC, restaurants that have a certain amount of seats have to have a bathroom for their customers. But, considering that Starbucks wasn't penalized legally for refusing to supply water to 9/11 rescuers, and considering that even if you did pass a criminal law, how do you enforce it? You can't send a restaurant to jail.
This is not a permit restriction. Here is a link to the language of the act. As far as I know, it has not been passed in any state, but has been introduced in a least 12.

Quote:
A retail establishment or an employee of a retail establishment that violates Section 10 is guilty of a petty offense. The penalty is a fine of not more than $100.
As to the water, we are not talking New York City. We are discussing a desert environment where water can mean life or death. Again, as far as I know, there isn't a law in Arizona directly about this issue. However, if a person refused water to someone in obvious distress, I am confident there would be some existing law under which they could be prosecuted.

If you are hiking in the desert and came upon someone passed out from a lack of water and did not render aid, you will probably be prosecuted.
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Old 25 March 2009, 10:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Keeper of the Mad Bunnies View Post
This is not a permit restriction. Here is a link to the language of the act. As far as I know, it has not been passed in any state, but has been introduced in a least 12.
The act to which you refer has nothing to do with the original argument.
From the act:
Quote:
A retail establishment that has a toilet facility for its employees shall allow a customer to use that facility during normal business hours if the toilet facility is reasonably safe and all of the following conditions are met:
This creates a duty between a quasi-special relationship group of retailer/customer.

Quote:
As to the water, we are not talking New York City. We are discussing a desert environment where water can mean life or death. Again, as far as I know, there isn't a law in Arizona directly about this issue. However, if a person refused water to someone in obvious distress, I am confident there would be some existing law under which they could be prosecuted.

If you are hiking in the desert and came upon someone passed out from a lack of water and did not render aid, you will probably be prosecuted.
It doesn't matter what environment we're discussing. The issue is whether a jurisdiction in the US can impose a duty to rescue upon people who have no relationship to the person asking for help. The answer is no.

While I hate referring people to wikipedia, this page provides a pretty good rundown on the state of the duty to rescue in tort law today. Sure, you might not like the idea that a stranger can refuse to help you if you're in a dire need of assistance, but that's just the way it is.

You'll notice, I'm sure, that eight states have passed laws extending the duty to rescue to strangers. As I said earlier, I doubt these laws would withstand constitutional scrutiny, and as a result they're never enforced.
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Old 26 March 2009, 06:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Recklessmess View Post
The issue is whether a jurisdiction in the US can impose a duty to rescue upon people who have no relationship to the person asking for help. The answer is no.
Actually, the answer is yes: Washington, Vermont, Minnesota, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts did impose such a duty (link, linked on the wiki site you referred to). According to this press release, the WA statute makes it "a misdemeanor offense to fail to assist a person who has suffered substantial bodily harm, provided that the person could reasonably summon assistance without danger to himself or herself."

Since Arizona isn't one of the states with a law like that, and refusing water would be covered under this law only in very special circumstances anyway, I think we can resume that the claim in the OP is false.

Don "can I have a glass of water now, please?" Enrico
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  #11  
Old 26 March 2009, 01:59 PM
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Totally different state, but I was staying in a hotel in North Carolina that had the statutes for hotel and innkeepers posted in the closet. It was a very old looking paper, and it stated that pets were not to be allowed in any hotel room in the state, and that innkeepers must provide food and drink to their guests. I checked online for these laws, but it seems that they have been repealed. Maybe there was a similar thing in Arizona?

http://law.onecle.com/north-carolina...nts/index.html
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Old 26 March 2009, 04:29 PM
Recklessmess Recklessmess is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Enrico View Post
Actually, the answer is yes: Washington, Vermont, Minnesota, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts did impose such a duty (link, linked on the wiki site you referred to). According to this press release, the WA statute makes it "a misdemeanor offense to fail to assist a person who has suffered substantial bodily harm, provided that the person could reasonably summon assistance without danger to himself or herself."
As I posted in my last message:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Recklessmess View Post
You'll notice, I'm sure, that eight states have passed laws extending the duty to rescue to strangers. As I said earlier, I doubt these laws would withstand constitutional scrutiny, and as a result they're never enforced.
and from the wiki page:

Quote:
These laws are rarely applied, and are generally ignored by citizens and lawmakers.
If you have a hard time reconciling the notion that states pass laws that don't pass Constitutional muster, consider anti-profanity laws, or laws that violate the (dormant) commerce clause (City of Philadelphia v. New Jersey, 437 U.S. 617).

I realize how hard it is for people to grasp the idea that it's perfectly legal *not to help* someone in need, I had a hard time with it my first year of Law School setting aside all that I thought was right in favor of what's truly legal.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Enrico View Post
Since Arizona isn't one of the states with a law like that, and refusing water would be covered under this law only in very special circumstances anyway, I think we can resume that the claim in the OP is false.

Don "can I have a glass of water now, please?" Enrico
The answer is no, you cannot have a drink of water, but yes, the state may attempt to pass a law that will have no legal bearing because any enforcement will incur a Constitutional challenge. These are feel-good laws that are passed to make constituents happy, but have little or no bite, other than fooling people into believing they're enforceable. Should you help someone in need? I would, but no law can compel you to unless we amend the Constitution. That doesn't mean it's not plausible that the Arizona legislature at some point considered, or even passed such a law.
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  #13  
Old 26 March 2009, 07:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Recklessmess View Post
I realize how hard it is for people to grasp the idea that it's perfectly legal *not to help* someone in need, I had a hard time with it my first year of Law School setting aside all that I thought was right in favor of what's truly legal.
Not only that, the protection of the "Good Samaritan" laws are being challenged in the courts. See http://articles.latimes.com/2008/dec...od-samaritan19

Quote:
In a decision that could give pause to would-be good Samaritans, the California Supreme Court ruled Thursday that a young woman who pulled a co-worker from a crashed vehicle isn't immune from civil liability because the care she rendered wasn't medical.
and
Quote:
"One who dives into swirling waters to retrieve a drowning swimmer can be sued for incidental injury he or she causes while bringing the victim to shore, but is immune for harm he or she produces while thereafter trying to revive the victim," Baxter wrote. "Here, the result is that defendant Torti has no immunity for her bravery in pulling her injured friend from a crashed vehicle, even if she reasonably believed it might be about to explode."
So tying this back to the OP, I could envision a convoluted situation where I offer you a glass of water in the desert, you get sick from drinking the water (e.g. Traveler's diarrhea), and then you sue me in court for attempted poisoning.
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Old 26 March 2009, 07:53 PM
Recklessmess Recklessmess is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Le Chevalier Blanc View Post
So tying this back to the OP, I could envision a convoluted situation where I offer you a glass of water in the desert, you get sick from drinking the water (e.g. Traveler's diarrhea), and then you sue me in court for attempted poisoning.
I think it would be kind of tough to win such a lawsuit, unless the person took the water from a toilet or other source that was unfit for human consumption - and the person knew it.

I think the California lawsuit alleges that the rescuer did not use care when pulling the person from the car. When it comes to spinal injuries, medical consensus, at least as far as I've learned, is to leave the person stationary because you can do more damage if there are broken bones. That leads back to the original topic, however, that you can open yourself up to liability as a good Samaritan. Also, many people panic in such situations, such as this one, and go against common sense. Maybe it's because they don't know what to do, maybe it's because they saw all those car explosions on TV and think a car will explode after an accident. So how can a legislature compel someone to rescue someone else when that person may not be trained to do so?
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