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Paralegal Power Break: Sports Torts

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Is it obvious that sports fans who attend a contest expose themselves to injury? Are some sports more dangerous than others? Should athletes have the right to sue each other for their conduct, or do courts classify such behavior as an inherent risk in sports? This session will discuss such issues.

Paralegal Power Breaks are short information packed sessions that provide useful career information to paralegals at all career levels.

Visit http://www.rainmakersonline.com/blog/category/paralegal-power-breaks to register.

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Paralegal Power Break: Sports Torts

  1. 1. Paralegal Power BreaksParalegal Power Breaks Sports TortsSports Torts
  2. 2. Tort Law GenerallyTort Law Generally  Tort = Personal Injury lawTort = Personal Injury law  Latin: to “twist” or “twisted”Latin: to “twist” or “twisted”  Tort lawyers are often referred to as plaintiff-Tort lawyers are often referred to as plaintiff- lawyerslawyers  Civil law as opposed to criminal law (thoughCivil law as opposed to criminal law (though closely related).closely related).  Goal of Tort law is to compensate for injuriesGoal of Tort law is to compensate for injuries
  3. 3. Tort Law BasicsTort Law Basics  Plaintiff must prove case by a “preponderancePlaintiff must prove case by a “preponderance of the evidence.”of the evidence.”  4 Major Tort Theories (not mutually exclusive):4 Major Tort Theories (not mutually exclusive):  NegligenceNegligence  Intentional TortsIntentional Torts  Products LiabilityProducts Liability  Strict (Absolute) LiabilityStrict (Absolute) Liability
  4. 4. NegligenceNegligence  Failure to act as the reasonable personFailure to act as the reasonable person  Who decides what was reasonable: a judge orWho decides what was reasonable: a judge or jury.jury.  Most states use comparative negligence today.Most states use comparative negligence today.  Outdated discussion of negligence involvedOutdated discussion of negligence involved phrases such as contributory negligence andphrases such as contributory negligence and assumption of the risk. Some states, very few,assumption of the risk. Some states, very few, still use contributory (contrib.).still use contributory (contrib.).
  5. 5. Elements of NegligenceElements of Negligence  Duty of careDuty of care  Breach of dutyBreach of duty  Causation (proximate cause)Causation (proximate cause)  DamagesDamages  If any of the above are missing, a negligenceIf any of the above are missing, a negligence claim should fail.claim should fail.
  6. 6. Levels of NegligenceLevels of Negligence  NegligenceNegligence: Failure to act as the reasonable: Failure to act as the reasonable person.person.  Gross NegligenceGross Negligence: Failure to use even a small: Failure to use even a small amount of care.amount of care.  RecklessnessRecklessness: So lacking in care that one can: So lacking in care that one can construe the conduct as being intentional.construe the conduct as being intentional.  Punitive (exemplary) damages: most likely inPunitive (exemplary) damages: most likely in recklessness cases.recklessness cases.
  7. 7. Negligence and SportsNegligence and Sports  Spectator/fan injuries?Spectator/fan injuries?  Participant (athlete) injuries?Participant (athlete) injuries?  Referee injuries?Referee injuries?  Coaching injuries?Coaching injuries?  Death by spectators or participants (calledDeath by spectators or participants (called wrongful death).wrongful death).  Malpractice in sports?Malpractice in sports?
  8. 8. Additional NegligenceAdditional Negligence ConsiderationsConsiderations  What role does insurance play in the analysis, if at all?What role does insurance play in the analysis, if at all?  What about waivers (disclaimers, releases, exculpatoryWhat about waivers (disclaimers, releases, exculpatory clauses)?clauses)?  Waivers on ticket stubs?Waivers on ticket stubs?  Minors and waivers?Minors and waivers?  Statutes of limitation for personal injury in sports?Statutes of limitation for personal injury in sports?  Injury “arising out of” the course of employment:Injury “arising out of” the course of employment: workers compensation issues.workers compensation issues.
  9. 9. Intentional TortsIntentional Torts  Most closely associated with the criminal law.Most closely associated with the criminal law.  Some are crimes and torts as wellSome are crimes and torts as well  Assault, Battery, Defamation (Libel, Slander),Assault, Battery, Defamation (Libel, Slander), Intentional interference with contractualIntentional interference with contractual relations, False Imprisonment, Fraud, Invasionrelations, False Imprisonment, Fraud, Invasion of Privacy, Right of publicity (commercialof Privacy, Right of publicity (commercial misappropriation), and so on.misappropriation), and so on.  How do they relate to sports?How do they relate to sports?  Contact v. non-contact sports?Contact v. non-contact sports?
  10. 10. Products LiabilityProducts Liability  Focus on “defect”Focus on “defect”  Defect in designDefect in design  Defect in manufacturingDefect in manufacturing  Defect in warningDefect in warning  How and when might this relate to sports?How and when might this relate to sports?
  11. 11. Strict (Absolute) LiabilityStrict (Absolute) Liability  Very rare in sportsVery rare in sports  Hold defendant responsible no matter whatHold defendant responsible no matter what degree of care they used.degree of care they used.  Usually considered for demolishing projects,Usually considered for demolishing projects, housing wild animals, storing and transportinghousing wild animals, storing and transporting dangers chemicalsdangers chemicals  Can you think of any in sports?Can you think of any in sports?
  12. 12. DamagesDamages  GeneralGeneral  SpecialSpecial  CompensatoryCompensatory  Punitive (not for breach of contract)Punitive (not for breach of contract)  Liquidated?Liquidated?
  13. 13. Contact UsContact Us www.rainmakersonline.comwww.rainmakersonline.com info@rainmakersonline.cominfo@rainmakersonline.com 800-580-6068800-580-6068 To learn more about Sports Law purchase the text Sports Law from Cengage Learning

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