Every day you have to balance your risk management equation and keep tracking of changing laws and court decisions. The Recreation Law Center Library is your portal for understanding the complex legal issues in outdoor adventure and recreation. Reb Gregg and Catherine Hansen-Stamp, two of the best known recreation law attorneys in the United States, analyze cutting edge court decisions pertinent to the industry.
Reb is a practicing attorney in Houston, Texas, specializing in issues of outdoor recreation and education law. He has served as President of the Houston Bar Association. Reb serves on the Board of Directors of the Student Conservation Association (SCA), on the Wilderness Risk managers Committee, and on the Accreditation Council of the Association for Experiential Education. He consults with and serves as counsel to numerous outdoor adventure and education programs, including summer camps, secondary schools, challenge courses and outfitters. He serves as general counsel to the Association for Challenge Course Technology and served for many years as counsel to the National Outdoor Leadership School. He is a frequent speaker and writer on subjects important to the industry.
Catherine is an attorney in private practice in Golden, Colorado. She consults with and advises recreation, adventure and sport program providers and product manufacturers/sellers and related organizations on law, liability and risk management issues. She speaks and writes frequently on these issues, both regionally and nationally. Catherine’s clients include camps and outdoor programs, public and private schools, outfitters and guides, dude ranches, science and environmental programs, ropes and challenge course builders and facilitators, adventure product manufacturers/sellers, resort owners, competitive event sponsors and others. She graduated in 1981 from The Colorado College (Colorado Springs, Colorado), and received her Juris Doctor degree from the University of Wyoming (Laramie, Wyoming) in 1985. She is a member of both the Wyoming and Colorado Bar Associations.
The Recreation Law Center is a unique service from OutdoorEd.com. Two of the most respected figures in outdoor recreation law, Reb Gregg and Catherine Hansen-Stamp are your guides through their presentation of critical legal cases impacting the outdoor education, recreation and adventure field. Stay on top of key legal and risk management issues through your access to The Recreation Law Library.
Are You Sure Your Releases Include YOU? A New Hampshire Court ruling denying Dartmouth protection under a release of liability, emphasizes the value in crafting these documents to clearly reflect their intended scope and purpose. In September the New Hampshire Federal District Court made significant rulings relating to the scope of a release—which raise some troubling issues, arising out of some unique and troubling facts. The Court's holding underlines the importance of a service provider acting proactively in considering the use of these types of documents in its operation.
Duty: the legal obligation to protect another from harm. No Duty – No Liability – Case Dismissed! Your best defense to a claim of negligence may be that a participant's injury resulted from an inherent risk of the activity—the doctrine of Primary Assumption of Risk. A California broomball case illustrates how this doctrine can be used as the basis for dismissal of a claim of negligence. Get acquainted with this valuable defensive tool and how it is interpreted in your jurisdiction.
A New York court rules that a HIV positive 10 year old boy was discriminated against, on the basis of his disability, when a camp denied him access to a one week basketball camp. Whether or not you agree with the Court’s decision, where is your organization in its preparation to consider accommodations for those with disabilities?
Duty of Care: the legal obligation to protect another from harm. Where does an individual’s or organization’s duty of care begin and end? The Supreme Court in Maine looks at a unique issue involving allegations of sexual assault that occurred after a participant left a program.
This Appeals Court opinion addresses a claim arising from an injury suffered at a child's birthday party. The Woodman case provides an excellent survey of the laws of various states regarding a parent's right to sign a pre-injury waiver on behalf of a child.
A California Court strikes down a binding arbitration clause in a release agreement used by an expedition adventure company on the grounds it was “permeated” with unconscionability.
Most programs deal with young children on a frequent basis, and can benefit from an understanding of a child's legal responsibility, within the context of a lawsuit, for their assumption of risks. In Kane, a Georgia Court dismissed a suit where a child fell from a piece of equipment on the basis of a nine-year old's knowledge of climbing (and falling).
Recreation and adventure education providers are often reluctant to review their insurance coverage--and even hesitant to contact their insurance representatives to inform them of new activities, for fear their premiums will go up. But being inattentive to your organization's insurance plan can be a dangerous approach. The Nautilus case, out of Missouri, demonstrates what can happen when an organization puts coverage on the back burner, or simply doesn’t take the time to determine if appropriate coverage is in place.
This Ohio case holds that negligence is an inherent risk of sporting activities—in this case cheerleading—and, as a result, dismissed an injured cheerleader’s negligence claim against the University. What is the law in your jurisdiction?
What are the legal rights of a product user injured by a recalled product which the retailer failed to take off the shelf? In a recent case, a Utah Court rules that a retailer of such a product, sued by an injured product user, could not succeed in claiming that a release of liability, signed by the user, protected the retailer from liability.
Recreation and education programs in our industry generally have a legal duty to protect their clients and students from unreasonable risks of harm. What does that duty require of a program faced with a medical emergency, and does that duty expand or contract as the activity becomes more remote?