Many sport and recreation businesses are fearful of being sued. And those who aren’t, should be! Even if you use a waiver and have insurance, a lawsuit is bad news. You have a big headache that will drain your attention and your peace-of-mind. In addition, the process of defending a lawsuit usually lasts for several years. Even if you eventually win, you have had the worry and, often, an abundance of bad publicity. Financially, your insurance may not cover the claim,
In a 2008 case (Stephenson v. Food Bank for New York City), Devone Stephenson alleged that the league was negligent in its supervision, operation, and control of the basketball game in which he was injured. Stephenson suffered a broken jaw when an opponent suddenly punched him in the face. Stephenson alleged that there was rough play, taunting, and “trash talk” throughout the game even though his team captain asked the referees to clean up the game.
This is the final part of a 5-part series of ways to reduce the risk of a lawsuit. This part focuses on guidelines dealing with the basic fundamentals of successful risk management. Each subject encompasses an immense amount of subject matter. See the sources cited for more information.
15. Know and Adhere to Industry Standards
Professionals are held to a standard of care that is deemed reasonable and any conduct that falls below that standard of care may leave the club liable for injuries or damages.
The following was originally published on www.sadlersports.com/blog/.
John Sadler responds to a frequently-asked question. Although there is little case law regarding this subject, John provides some “real life” advice.
Actual Client Question:
We were wondering if you require hard signatures on the release of liability form, player parent contract, code of ethics? We do registration on line to where everyone has their own password to login to their childs registration,
12. Reacting to a Crisis
A crisis is a major, unpredictable event that endangers property and/or lives and threatens to seriously harm an organization. Examples of crises in a health club might be a fire, tornado, roof collapse, explosion, terrorist situation, heart attack, or catastrophic accident. Two ways in which a crisis is distinguished from a mere accident is 1) the likelihood of significant media coverage (possibly negative) and 2) the magnitude of the damage (a broken bone vs.
8. Warning of Risks
Assumption of risk is one of the major defenses for clubs when sued by clients for injuries incurred. The effectiveness of this defense depends upon whether or not the client was aware of the risk – hence,
5. Establish a Complete Facility Inspection Program
The inspection program should be broad in scope, including several types of inspections. There should be a daily inspection. This does not have to be time consuming or detailed, but someone should take a few minutes before opening to walk through the facility with a brief checklist to see if there are any obvious hazards or problems visible.
The primary purpose of a risk management plan is not the avoidance of legal liability. Rather, it is the maintenance of a quality program; that is, one which deals reasonably and fairly with its clients or students and their families.
The Cohen v. Five Brooks Stable court (2008 Cal. App. LEXIs 222) gave some sound advice to writers of waivers. While acknowledging that California courts hold releases of liability to a high standard of clarity, the court emphasized that “An effective release is hard to draft only if the party for whom it is prepared desires to hide the ball, which is what the law is designed to prevent. . . . A release that forthrightly makes clear to a person untrained in the law that the releasor gives up any claim against the releasee for the latter’s own negligence .
Minnesota joined the list of states that have enforced a liability waiver which was signed by a parent on behalf of a minor child (Moore v. Minnesota Baseball Instructional School, 2009 Minn. App. Unpub. LEXIS 299). Moore signed a waiver for her son releasing the Minnesota Baseball Instructional School from liability arising from injury or loss caused by negligence or otherwise while participating in such activity or while upon the premises.
The minor suffered the loss of vision in one eye while throwing woodchips during a free period.