Absence of Risk Management Results in Death

By Doyice Cotten

Occasionally an injury or death occurs in a recreation or sport setting that really emphasizes the need of ongoing risk management. A recent lawsuit resulting from a kayaking death reported on AthleticBusiness.com presents a situation from which risk managers and sport managers can learn.

Christopher Gormley, an 18 year-old college student, died from hypothermia after his kayak tipped over in frigid waters while on a group trip. According to the lawsuit,

Lake Tahoe Parasailing Waiver Case Governed by Federal Admiralty Law

By Doyice Cotten

A lady was injured while parasailing on Lake Tahoe and sued alleging negligence by the provider (Cobb v. Aramark Sports and Entertainment Services, LLC, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 20139).  Prior to beginning the activity, she signed the following liability waiver intended to protect the provider from liability for injuries caused by provider negligence.

In consideration of my being allowed to participate in the parasailing  [*2] activities operated and conducted by [Zephyr],

Zorbing: Or how to Kill Yourself for only $10 (somewhat more in the U.S.)

By Doyice Cotten

Two Russian men, out for some adventure, paid the equivalent of $10 each and tried their hands at the new adventure sport, zorbing. Zorbing consists of rolling down a ski slope or grassy hill inside a giant inflatable ball. One of the men, a 27 year-old and father of two, was killed and the other badly injured when the ball veered off course and rolled over a precipice. A complete report comes from Fox News.

A Tale of 3 Waivers

By Doyice Cotten

On a recent trip to North Carolina, I picked up a copy of their waiver from three whitewater rafting companies – Nantahala Outdoor Center, Inc. (NOC), Carolina Outfitters, Inc., and Whitewater LTD Rafting. The waiver of each company is probably adequate to protect the company from liability for injuries resulting from negligence of the operator or from the inherent risks of the operator. Some important points from each waiver will be examined here.

New Jersey Snowboard Waiver Case: A Real Alfred Hitchcock Ending

By Doyice Cotten

I have read well over 1000 sport and recreation waiver cases; occasionally, a strange one comes along. But of all the cases I have examined, Dearnly v. Mountain Creek (2012 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 527) has to be the most bizarre.

First, the sequence of events:

Mrs. Dearnly was eligible for a free season pass at the Vernon Ski Resort as a job benefit.

Nov. 2008: Mr.

Failure to Name Party Costly

Waivers and releases of liability can fail to protect for many reasons. Releases in three 2009 cases failed to protect because the waiver did not name the protected parties either by name or by function. These three cases can give sport, recreation, and fitness providers some guidance in writing a waiver or in evaluating a waiver currently in use.

Porter v. Dartmouth College

In Porter v. Dartmouth College (2009 U.S. Dist.

High Ropes Course Waiver Protects Provider and Builder Under Colorado Law

By Doyice Cotten

In  June, 2018, Jodi Sheldon was seriously injured while participating in a high ropes course at the Golden Bell Ranch. She sued Golden Bell Retreat, Cross Bearing Adventures (“CBA”), the company which constructed the course and trained employees, and it’s owner Kent McIlhany. alleging negligence (Sheldon v. Golden Bell Retreat, 2020). All three defendants claimed Ms. Sheldon’s claims are barred by a waiver and indemnification agreement signed by Sheldon.

The Waiver

The waiver read,

Creating Your Risk Management Plan

Jim Moss is a practicing attorney specializing in outdoor recreation law; he has the informative website Recreation Law , on which this article was originally published.

Risk Management Plans always sound good; but, they often turn out to be a lot of work! On top of that, many plans turn out to be so cumbersome that they do not work in actual practice. Jim offers suggestions as to how to create a risk management plan that actually works in real life;

COVID-19 – Liability Insurance – and Waivers!

By Doyice Cotten

No one needs reminding of the national emergency relating to COVID-19 and the problems it has brought. Many providers of sport, recreation, and fitness activities are worrying about their liability in this situation.

In terms of risk management, most utilize two major tools to protect their business or organization from undue financial risk – these tools are liability insurance and liability waivers. Unfortunately, many are finding that their insurance does not cover communicable diseases and are taking a look at their waiver and wondering if it will protect them.

Niagara Jet Boat: Was there Gross Negligence?

By Doyice Cotten

This post examines another important issue in the Witkowski v. Niagara Jet Boat Adventures, LLC, 2020 case – Gross Negligence or Ordinary Negligence.

In the jet boat case, the Witkowski’s took a jet boat ride and Sarah Witkowski suffered injury. The reader is referred back to last week’s post for the facts of the case.

The final issue addressed in the case was the allegation that Niagara Jet was grossly negligent.