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Reed Wainwright Don’t Lose it All Before Game Day!

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Presentation on theme: "Reed Wainwright Don’t Lose it All Before Game Day!"— Presentation transcript:

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2 Reed Wainwright Don’t Lose it All Before Game Day!

3 Recurring Allegations Some form of negligence, carelessness or recklessness is usually the recurring allegation associated with legal liability

4 Legal Liability Careless The fact, condition, or instance of a person’s either not having done what he or she ought to have done, or having done what he or she ought not to have done. Black’s Law Dictionary, 7 th Edition, Bryan Garner, Editor in Chief, West Publishing Company, 1999, p Negligence The failure to exercise the standard of care that a reasonably prudent person would have exercised in a similar situation. Black’s Law Dictionary, 7 th Edition, Bryan Garner, Editor in Chief, West Publishing Company, 1999, p Reckless Characterized by the creation of a substantial and unjustifiable risk of harm to others and by a conscious (and sometimes deliberate) disregard for or indifference to that risk; heedless; rash. Black’s Law Dictionary, 7 th Edition, Bryan Garner, Editor in Chief, West Publishing Company, 1999, p

5 Allegations! DOES NOT MEAN THE CONTENT IS TRUE! It is only “ALLEGED!”

6 Alleged incident date: September 28, 2009 Lawsuit filed on: January 24, 2011 Defendants: USC (private institution) and assistant strength coach Allegations of negligence, recklessness, and carelessness: Reputable and competent strength and conditioning coaches Player was relying on assistant strength and conditioning coach’s previously represented abilities and competence “The bar was dropped, hit and/or fell onto player’s neck by reason of, and result of, the negligent, reckless, and careless acts and omissions of each of the Defendants.” Was not enough that defense argued that players “assume inherent risks” Notice of Settlement filed: On or about January 17, 2012 USC “Spotting” Case (Case No. BC453551, Superior Court of State of California County of Los Angeles, Central District, The Douglas La Group Antablin & Bruce, Carl E. Douglas, Esq.). 6 USC “Spotting” Case

7 Public Institutions Public institutions - Texas Sovereign immunity definition: (1) A government’s immunity from being sued in its own courts without its consent. Congress has waived most of the federal government’s sovereign immunity. See Federal Tort Claims Act. (2) A state’s immunity from being sued in federal court by the state’s own citizens. Black’s Law Dictionary, 7 th Edition, Bryan Garner, Editor in Chief, West Publishing Company, 1999, p. 753Sec : No indemnification if willful or wrongful act or an act of gross negligence Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code; Sec GOVERNMENTAL LIABILITY. Personal injury and death so caused by a condition or use of tangible personal or real property if the governmental unit would, were it a private person, be liable to the claimant according to Texas law Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code; Sec STATE LIABILITY; CONDUCT COVERED. (a) …the state is liable for indemnification under this chapter only if the damages are based on an act or omission by the person in the course and scope of the person's office, employment, or contractual performance for or service on behalf of the agency, institution, or department and if: (1) the damages arise out of a cause of action for negligence, except a willful or wrongful act or an act of gross negligence Texas Civil Practices and Remedies Code; Sec (11). Gross negligence means an act or omission: (A) which when viewed objectively from the standpoint of the actor at the time of its occurrence involves an extreme degree of risk, considering the probability and magnitude of the potential harm to others; and (B) of which the actor has actual, subjective awareness of the risk involved, but nevertheless proceeds with conscious indifference to the rights, safety, or welfare of others 7

8 Private Institutions and Athletic Associations 8 Private institutions Sovereign immunity will not apply Athletic Associations Sovereign immunity will not apply If an association of public institution, case law has reasoned that sovereign immunity does not apply

9 Wrongful Death High school cases: Florida High School Case Allegations A year earlier player had been hospitalized for heat stroke Took too long to call 911; and Did not immediately get player into a cooling tub at the first sign of trouble Georgia High School Case Allegations Took too long to call 911; and Passed out the night before, but was still expected to show up for training the next day Collegiate: University of Southern Mississippi Case - Eric Sorey (1987) 849 F.2d.960; 42 USC Sec – Civil Action for Deprivation of Rights, State Tort and Contract Law Wrongful Death – plaintiff must establish the defendant’s wrongful act caused the defendants death (Christus St. Mary Hosp. v. O’Banion 227 SW 3d 868) 9 A defendant can be held liable for the decedent’s death if the death was caused by the defendant’s (or its agent’s or servant’s) wrongful act, neglect, carelessness, unskillfulness, or default (Texas Civil Practices and Remedies Code; Section (b))

10 Wrongful Death Florida State University – Devaughn Darling Alleged incident date: February 26, 2001 Lawsuit filed: On or about October 2, 2002 Allegations: During conditioning drills Cause of death was apparent “cardiac arrhythmia;” and Medical Examiner stated that sickle cell trait may have contributed to players death Settlement Date: On or about June 28, 2004, but still unresolved 10 University of Missouri – Aaron O’Neal Alleged incident date: July 12, 2005 Allegation: Failure to follow Emergency Action Plan Settlement date: On or about March 12, 2009

11 Premises Liability A landowner’s or landholder’s Tort Liability for conditions or activities on the premises. Black’s Law Dictionary, 7 th Edition, Bryan Garner, Editor in Chief, West Publishing Company, 1999, p Exposure to liability includes, but is not limited to: Equipment purchase Equipment maintenance Equipment cleaning Access 11

12 Products Liability A manufacturer’s or seller’s Tort Liability for any damages or injuries suffered by a buyer, user, or bystander as a result of a defective product. Black’s Law Dictionary, 7 th Edition, Bryan Garner, Editor in Chief, West Publishing Company, 1999, p Bat Case (NewJersey.com) Youth was nearly killed while pitching in a Little League game in 2006 when he was 12 years old. A batted ball struck him in the chest, causing his heart to stop beating and depriving his brain of oxygen for 15 to 20 minutes. Intensive physical therapy has enabled him to regain some speech. His parents sued in 2008, claiming a bat manufacturer a national sports retailer and a state Little League entity were responsible for their son’s brain damage The parents sued for emotional pain and suffering, punitive, and other damages under product liability and consumer fraud laws 12

13 Equality Student athletes. Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972 – A federal statute generally prohibiting sex discrimination and harassment by educational facilities that receive federal funds. Black’s Law Dictionary, 7 th Edition, Bryan Garner, Editor in Chief, West Publishing Company, 1999, p Employment Qualified Equal opportunity – Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964—a deferral law that prohibits employment discrimination and harassment on the basis of race, sex, pregnancy, religion, and national origin, as well as prohibiting retaliation against an employee who opposes illegal harassment or discrimination in the workplace. Black’s Law Dictionary, 7 th Edition, Bryan Garner, Editor in Chief, West Publishing Company, 1999, p Disparate impact – The adverse effect of a facially neutral practice that nonetheless discriminates against person because of their race, sex, national origin, age, or disability and that is not justified by business necessity. Discriminatory intent is irrelevant in a disparate impact claim. Black’s Law Dictionary, 7 th Edition, Bryan Garner, Editor in Chief, West Publishing Company, 1999, p The “Unpaid” Intern Bona fide occupational qualification 13

14 Warning Label! Verbal/Announcements/Bulletin Board/Website Prevention of heatstroke Dehydration Resource Exchange Center (REC: Concussion Rhabdomyoloysis Sickle cell See NCAA Publications 14

15 Annual Policies and Procedures Manual (not an exhaustive list) Emergency action plan; Lightening safety plan; Catastrophic incident guidelines; Privacy; Scheduled meetings with strength staff and training staff; Equipment upkeep and cleaning guidelines (OSHA); Student-athlete mental health consideration plan; Access to facilities; Workout progressions for student athletes after concussions and rhabdomyoloysis, heat-related problems and dehydration; Supervision; Drug testing policy and guidelines; Strength and conditioning programs/athletic performance training (detailed as possible); and Pre-participation Competitive Offseason – mid-day T.V. game alert! Get approval from general counsel or other retained attorney 15


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