Posts Tagged: negligence

The Ball is in Your Court

April 17, 2013

Sports Law 101: Negligence

Katharine M. Nohr, J.D.

The most important type of tort to understand in sports risk management and sports law is negligence. Negligence is conduct that falls below a reasonable person standard. In other words, it is the failure to exercise reasonable care that a reasonably prudent person would have in the same or similar circumstances. This standard applies to acts as well as omissions.

There are elements that a plaintiff in a lawsuit has to prove in order for a defendant to be found to be negligent. The four elements of negligence are as follows:
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Nuts and Bolts Liability

November 21, 2011

How to Know When You Need to Call a Lawyer!

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

Liability issues are faced by everyone. It does seem that there are more lawsuits and more ways to be sued but some of the risks have not changed. For the Student Union Manager, there will always be students, some considered to be ‘children’ in the eyes of the law; there will always be those who want to take risks; and there will always be alcohol (and drugs).

The following is a primer on some of the basics to keep in mind when planning activities with the Student Union (SU) Board and running the Union.

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The Scariest Four Letter Word in Campus Recreation: Part I

July 19, 2011

Matt Campbell, J.D.
Assistant Director, Campus Recreation
Marshall University

Acknowledging the most feared four letter word in Campus Recreation is the first step in understanding it : R-I-S-K.

Risk…there, it’s out in the open. And now that it has been acknowledged, perhaps we can move beyond the knee-jerk reaction and discuss how risk is controlled, or in legal terms, mitigated. Because as scary as risk may be, nothing is more terrifying than finding out your plan to control that risk is inadequate or outdated.

This article will explore why risk is such an ominous topic for recreation professionals, what the current standard is for mitigating risk in campus recreation, and where the legal decisions are trending with regard to mitigating risk.

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The Scariest Four Letter Word in Campus Recreation: Part II

July 19, 2011

Matt Campbell, J.D.
Assistant Director, Campus Recreation
Marshall University

In Part I of this article, we discussed the risk assessment tool developed by Peter Sandman dubbed the “Outrage Model.” In the Outrage Model, Sandman defines risk as hazard plus outrage. Applying this model to risk in campus recreation, we can assign hazard as the objective factor, such as the safety of a playing surface or wear and tear to equipment, and outrage as the subjective factor, such as the criticism and emotional reaction to these hazards. These criticisms and emotional reactions have lead to an increase in litigation and a paradigm change regarding assumption of risk. In Part I, a table showing which jurisdictions are likely to uphold a waiver or assumption of risk clause and which are not was produced. In this article we will outline how to move away from legal jargon and develop an effective, dynamic waiver document.

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SportRisk Planning Manual

July 14, 2011


SportRisk: Table of Contents

CHAPTER 1: Introduction

CHAPTER 2: Negligence

1. Why is Negligence such a Big Deal?

  • Our Litigious Society
  • Impact of Increased Litigation on Sport/Recreation

2. Negligence

  • Tort Law
  • What is Negligence?

3. Establishing Liability for Negligence

  • Establishing Negligence
  • Duty of Care
  • Standard of Care
  • Actual Harm
  • Proximate Cause
  • Liability for Negligence
  • Personal Liability
  • Vicarious Liability
  • Products and Premises/Occupiers Liability
  • Defences against Negligence
  • Contributory Negligence
  • Voluntary Assumption of Risk
  • Waivers

4. Negligence and the Courts

  • The Legal Process
  • What to do in the Event of a Lawsuit

CHAPTER 3: The 5 Key Risk Areas

1. Supervision & Instruction

  • Qualifications & Certifications
  • Supervision Ratios
  • Lesson Plans & Progressions
  • Job Descriptions
  • Matching Participants

2. Training

  • What Training is Required?
  • Who Needs to be Trained?
  • Training Grids

3. Facilities & Equipment

  • New Facility Design Issues
  • Inspections
  • Maintenance
  • Inspection and Maintenance Checklists
  • Signage
  • Facility and Equipment Modification
  • Natural Hazards

4. Documentation

  • Risk Management Manual
  • Waivers
  • Medical Screening
  • Risk Information

5. Emergency Response Plan

  • Emergency Planning Process
  • Training
  • Rehearsals/ Drills
  • Equipment
  • Communication

CHAPTER 4: Risk Management Planning

1. Risk Management: What’s it all about?

  • What’s all the Fuss?
  • Defining Risk Management

2. The Role of Insurance

  • The Cornerstone of your Risk Management Plan

3. Keeping it Simple

  • Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

4. Focus on High Risk Areas: The Risk Matrix

  • Risk Matrix: Probability vs. Severity

5. Risk Management Planning

3 Step Process:

  • Step 1: Prioritize High Risk vs. Low Risk
    – The Risk Matrix
  • Step 2: Conduct an Audit/ Risk Assessment
    – The 5 Key Risk Areas
    – The Key issues in each Risk Area
    – The Key Audit Questions
  • Step 3: Develop Action Plans

6. Organizing for Risk Management

  • The Risk Management Committee

CHAPTER 5: Special Policy Areas

1. Transportation

  • Four Key Areas (Vehicles; Drivers; Passengers; Emergency Response)
  • Trip Administrator
  • Trip Leader

2. Sport Clubs

  • Reporting Structure
  • Coaches
  • Travel
  • Emergency Care
  • Other (Waivers; Medical Screening; Safety Officer; Alcohol/Drugs; Hazing;)
  • Sport Clubs Manual

3. Summer Camps

  • Staffing
  • Supervision & Training
  • Emergency Response
  • Documentation
  • Facilities & Equipment
  • Other (Behavioural Issues; Medications; Transportation; Insurance)
  • Summer Camps Manual

4. Disease Control

  • Bloodborne pathogens
  • Infectious Diseases

5. Alcohol & Drugs

  • Policies
  • Facility Rentals involving alcohol

6. Event Management

  • Five Key Areas
  • Event Management Checklist

7. Contracts

  • Facility Rentals
  • Personnel

In today’s litigious society, can you afford not to have this book?

To order, go to

The Need for a ‘Framework’ to Manage Sport Clubs

April 28, 2011

Ian McGregor, Ph.D.
McGregor & Associates

Across North America, Sport Clubs continue to be a major ‘sweaty palm’ issue for most Campus Recreation departments. Student-run Sport Clubs can provide an excellent learning environment for student leaders. However, from the administrator’s perspective, too many Clubs are just ‘doing their own thing’ with few controls in place to minimize problems. Hence it is all about finding that balance between freedom and control.

Many Sport Clubs operate with a fair degree of autonomy. However, the bottom line (from the Court’s perspective) is that Sport Clubs will likely be deemed to be ‘part of the University’, since they compete regionally and nationally as a ‘University’ team. Therefore the University will likely be held responsible for Sport Club activities (as these relate to practice and competition as well as travel, fund raising, social activities, etc.). Hence it is important that Campus Recreation departments effectively manage Sport Clubs to ensure that (a) the risk of participant injury is minimized and (b) a costly lawsuit is avoided.

The solution is to implement a ‘framework’ for managing Sport Clubs which provides flexibility on how to implement various Sport Clubs policies and procedures, yet incorporates some ‘bottom-line’ or ‘non-negotiable’ requirements which need to be followed by Sport Clubs.

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