The Arkansas Supreme Court is siding with relatives of the 20 people killed in flash floods at the Albert Pike campground in 2010, agreeing with their definition of malicious conduct under a state law.
A federal judge had halted 11 separate suits against the federal government over the flooding as she asked the high court to interpret the state law.
The U.S. government had argued that a state law bars lawsuits against landowners who don't charge a fee for recreational use.
The law makes an exception if the landowner "maliciously" fails to warn about conditions or activities known to be dangerous.
The court's opinion Thursday said that malicious conduct under the state law includes conduct in reckless disregard of the consequences from which malice may be inferred.