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So if you write standards, you can, then use them to make money when someone sues your competitors.

I’m sort of speechless (but I can still type) about this whole thing. The amount of money lost in the lawsuit, the way the lawsuit was lost and now this article. The expert witness for the plaintiff seems not to be interested in protecting the industry.

This article describes a tragedy. A climber failed to clip into an auto belay. At the top of the climb she let go, falling to her death. What is the interesting, the article is not the results of the investigation into her death, it is the statements by the “expert” who is quoted.

“It is a well-known problem in the industry,” said [expert], who is a climbing gym owner in Virginia. He helped write industry safety standards, and provide expert witness testimony for people who are injured in gym accidents.

“My opinion is, yes, a gym has some responsibility to make sure that you’re warned and protected to some degree from yourself,” Hague said.

Maybe he was quoted wrong? However, I doubt it. He was an expert for the plaintiff in Keeter v. Alpine Towers International, Inc., 399 S.C. 179; 730 S.E.2d 890; 2012 S.C. App. LEXIS 171 which cost the defendant $4.7 million. I wrote about this case in Plaintiff uses standards of ACCT to cost defendant $4.7 million.

What is going to happen if someone is injured in his gym? Do you believe any other gym owners will line up to testify about any breach of standards?

The expert may be correct about his assessment on whether the standards are breached. However, there are a lot of adages about messing around in your own industry.

His statement about the gym having a responsibility to make sure that you’re warned and protected to some degree from yourself……really? Maybe I don’t want you to protect me?

So how do you know that the person helping you write standards is not there to sue you over the standards that are being written? It happens. The playground industry has created standards so tough and expensive to meet it is cheaper to bull doze a playground than to meet the standards. See Playgrounds will be flat soon. However, that could be better for the kids. See An example of adults and money getting in the way of kids has fun.

This is another way that writing standards comes back to haunt you. You create experts who can then show that you are liable.

See Human error blamed for Grapevine climbing wall death

What do you think? Leave a comment.

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