Campus Recreation

The Basics of Alcohol Liability: Part I

April 10, 2011

Shelley Timms, B.A., LL.B., LL.M.
Timshel Services Inc.
Alcohol Risk Management
Timshel@timshelservices.com

Editor’s Note: While the Case Law is Canadian based, readers may find this article of interest — the concepts of ‘special relationships’ and ‘foreseeability’ apply everywhere.

Alcohol liability, as we know it, is a fairly recent legal construct. The first case that proceeded to the Supreme Court of Canada was just 37 years ago. Until that time, there were fewer automobiles on the road (and therefore fewer impaired driving crashes), less disposable income and therefore less to spend on excessive alcohol consumption, and specifically, stricter rules in the university environment as well as a higher drinking age. That isn’t to say there weren’t alcohol related legal cases, but they were far fewer than in the late 1970’s to present day.

Initially, alcohol related cases were referred to as ‘commercial host cases’ since commercial hosts (those who sell alcohol) were the only ones being successfully sued. With time, more and more ‘hosts’ were added to the list, creating what is now known as host liability or alcohol liability.

This article is Part I of ‘The Basics of Alcohol Liability’, and will focus on two key elements of alcohol liability — “special relationship” and “foreseeability”. In the next issue of the Newsletter, Part II will look at more specific components of alcohol liability such as security obligations, innocent third parties, the youth factor, as well as “beyond commercial hosts”.

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The Basic of Alcohol Liability — Part II

April 10, 2011

Shelley Timms, B.A., LL.B., LL.M.
Timshel Services Inc.
Alcohol Risk Management
Timshel@timshelservices.com

Part I of the The Basics of Alcohol Liability covered two fundamentals of alcohol liability — special relationship and foreseeability. Part II will review security obligations, innocent third parties, the youth factor and “beyond commercial hosts”.

Security Obligations
Every licencee is obliged to insure that patrons or guests of the establishment are in a safe environment. Occupiers’ liability, which is found in every province either in legislation form or in common law, provides that the occupier must provide premises that are safe – regarding the actual premises, the condition of the guests and the nature of the activity being conducted on the premises.

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The Muskoka Tragedy

April 10, 2011

(Another) wake-up call for servers of alcohol

Shelley Timms, B.A., LL.B., LL.M.
Timshel Services Inc.
Alcohol Risk Management
Timshel@timshelservices.com

Editor’s Note:
Campus Recreation departments which operate golf courses with restaurant/ bar facilities attached may find this article of interest. There is a (pardon the pun) sobering message here for any recreation organization which sells or distributes alcohol at any of its venues.

On July 3, 2008, a car with 4 occupants crashed through a guard rail, and flipped into Lake Joseph in the Muskoka region of Ontario. One person was able to escape while the other three died. As information was made available to the public, it was alleged that the group had had lunch and were drinking at the Lake Joseph Club bar. Further, it was alleged that 31 drinks were served to the group.

Charges were laid in January 2009 against the bar staff — two servers and one manager – and the licencee, the Board of Directors of the corporate owner, ClubLink (operator of a network of golf courses in Ontario and Quebec). The charges included permitting drunken behaviour on the premises and serving liquor to people who were obviously intoxicated.

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Implementing a Missing Child Procedure within a Campus Recreation Department

April 10, 2011

Jonathan Hart
Assistant Director of Campus Recreation
Facilities and Operations
Georgia Institute of Technology

What would you do if a child was reported missing in your facility? Would your staff be prepared and able to react to this unimaginable scenario and possible life-threatening situation? Before you are faced with having to assemble a ‘search party’ as a means of finding the missing child and reuniting them with their parent and/or guardian, consider employing the following information to assist with safeguarding your facility, programs, and aiding the staff against the threat of child abduction.

Last spring, we (Campus Recreation Risk Management Committee) were charged with developing and implementing an effective protocol that would enable us to properly train/instruct staff (mostly students) to effectively handle and react when a child is reported missing. We discovered a national program called Code Adam (named after Adam Walsh who was abducted and brutally murdered in 1981) to assist in our pursuits.

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The Ball is In Your Court: The role of Public Safety Campaigns in reducing Crowd Control problems

April 08, 2011

Katharine M. Nohr, Esq.
Nohr Sports Risk Management LLC

Combine passionate fans, alcohol and football, the equation for spectator unruliness, and your university may have a crowd control problem to contend with. It is not unusual for stadium and event management to engage in a public relations campaign in an effort to prevent anticipated rowdy behavior or address safety concerns before a big game. As you can well imagine, underdog University of Hawaii Warriors football team elicited a tsunami of fan excitement leading up to its Sugar Bowl berth. After a home game against Fresno State, some visitors complained about fan conduct in Aloha Stadium. In response, and before its remaining games against Boise State and Washington leading to an undefeated season, Coach June Jones made television public service announcements and advertisements were placed in electronic and print media to curb potential fan violence. His ‘good sportsmanship’ message urged the fans to show their ‘aloha spirit’, and specifically asked “for the safety of players, please refrain from throwing paper or other objects on the field.” Security was significantly beefed up for subsequent games and there was no repeat of the problems reported at the Fresno State game.

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Working with the Risk Manager

April 08, 2011

Joe Risser CPCU, ARM-P
Director, Risk Management
Cal Poly San Luis Obispo

Risk Managers are often viewed as ‘the person who says no’ in the organization since they are expected to protect the organization from liability or other losses. Traditionally however, the role of the Risk Manager is to advise and assist those responsible for the operations, programs and activities of an organization in their efforts to manage risk. Ultimately, the organization’s chief executive and managers have the responsibility and authority to protect the organization, employees, customers and the community from losses.

Risks that can result in losses include (but are not limited to): loss of a building or other facility to fire or flood; injury of an employee to the degree they cannot perform their job, short term or long term; injury to a customer and/or damage to another person’s property resulting in a claim and/or litigation. Ultimately a judgment could be rendered which may adversely affect the organization (court expenses, order to pay medical expenses, restitution, life long disability or loss of earnings), and result in significant if not severe financial loss for any organization.

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