Paddlesports Retailer Announces 2018 Paddlesports Industry Dinner

Paddlesports Retailer, the official North American tradeshow of the paddlesports industry, has selected the Renaissance Oklahoma City Convention Center Hotel as the venue for the 2018 Paddlesports Industry Dinner, featuring the first ever Paddling Magazine Product & Industry Awards. The inaugural event will take place Wednesday, August 29 and will honor the innovative products, important people and best practices making vital contributions to the paddlesports industry.

The Paddling Magazine Product & Industry Awards is presented by Rapid Media and will be emceed by Founder and Publisher Scott MacGregor and Director of Marketing Cristin Plaice. “Paddlesports Retailer is more than a sales event and so our Paddling Magazine Product & Industry Awards will recognize outstanding work and will applaud excellence in the innovation and design driving today’s paddlesports industry,” says MacGregor. “We are putting the very best of paddlesports on stage at the Renaissance in Oklahoma City so that we can showcase it around the world.”

The Paddlesports Industry Dinner on the final evening of Paddlesports Retailer will create the perfect gathering for the industry to honor its own. The evening is a grand celebration convening in one place near the end of the busy summer season. “The Paddlesports Industry Dinner is intended to bring together hundreds of retail buyers and manufacturer reps to exchange local knowledge and principles of best practices on a global stage,” adds Paddlesports Trade Coalition Board Member and Kokatat’s Sales Manager Jeff Turner.

Retailers as well as paddlesports and outdoor media will receive access to this year’s New Product Showcase where they can preview all new 2019 products and vote for the Paddling Magazine Product & Industry Awards. Registered retailer attendees will receive complimentary tickets for Wednesday’s dinner and awards ceremony.

The Paddlesports Industry Dinner and Paddling Magazine Product & Industry Awards provides Paddlesports Retailer an additional marquee event to complement its on water Demo Day. The 2018 Demo Day takes place in the heart of Oklahoma City’s Boathouse District, at the $45 million whitewater course and flatwater training center.

Paddlesports Retailer has already registered 30 percent more exhibitor space and three times as many retailers as the 2017 show had at the same time last year. The show is 90 percent sold out and expects to be fully booked by June 1st.


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Consumer Product Safety Commission and Recalls: A Primer

1.    Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) only has jurisdiction over consumer products.

To define “consumer products” under the CPSC you start with everything and then subtract from everything the following.

  • Food
  • Drugs
  • Cosmetics
  • Medical devices
  • Tobacco products
  • Firearms and ammunition
  • Motor vehicles
  • Pesticides
  • Aircraft
  • Boats
  • Fixed site amusement rides

The classification is also identified as anything that is:

  1. For sale to a consumer for use in or around a permanent or temporary household or residence, a school, in recreation, or otherwise;
  2. For the personal use, consumption or enjoyment of a consumer in or around a permanent or temporary household or residence, a school, in recreation, or otherwise (15 U.S.C. § 2052).

The term in recreation then is an outdoor recreation, adventure travel and a cycling catch all. All outdoor products are considered consumer products and subject to the CPSC.

Bicycles are a special classification of the CPSC over which the CPSC has broad powers and greater authority and control.

2.    Who Must Report if you are in the OR Industry?

Manufacturers, importers, distributors and retailers are all equally liable under the CPSA (Consumer Product Safety Act) and are all equally responsible to report defective products (15 U.S.C. § 2064(b)). The person who brings the product into the US if it is not manufactured in the US is responsible along with all other people in the chain of distribution.

A “distributor” is defined as “a person to whom a consumer product is delivered or sold for purposes of distribution in commerce, except that such term does not include a manufacturer or retailer of such a product (15 U.S.C. § 2052(a)(7)). Consequently, the definition of a distributor is very broad and covers any entity from the docks to the retailer.

A “retailer” is defined as “a person to whom a consumer product is delivered or sold for purposes of sale or distribution by such person to a consumer (15 U.S.C. § 2052(a)(7), 15 U.S.C. § 2052(a)(13)).

Consequently, everyone who touches a product once it is manufactured in the US or arrives in the US, other than someone doing so for transportation purposes only, is liable for a recall of the product. That liability extends to failing to report a defective product.

3.    A reporting requirement is triggered when:

There is a duty to report a defective product by anyone in the chain of distribution when:

  1. a product fails to comply with a consumer product safety rule or a voluntary consumer product safety standard upon which the CPSC has relied, such as the voluntary standards.
  2. A product fails to comply with the CPSA or another Act, such as the Flammable Fabrics Act.
  3. A product contains a defect that could create a substantial product hazard.
  4. A product creates an unreasonable risk of serious injury or death (15 U.S.C. § 1193-1204, 15 U.S.C. § 2064(b)).

This creates a massive unknown black hole for the outdoor industry. The OR industry creates dozens of products may have a warranty issue, but do not violate any statute and do not create a substantial hazard or create a risk of injury or death to the user.

Examples of these are Avalanche Probes or Avalanche Beacons, and other rescue equipment. No matter what goes wrong with a probe or beacon, it will not cause injury or death to the consumer. The defective probe will not kill or injury anyone unless the searcher just stabs someone. Consequently, this creates a real issue for many.

However, the law says injury to the consumer. If there is no injury, the product may not work, but it is not the cause of the injury and thus not subject to a recall.

The CPSC takes a different view.

Your question has been forwarded to me for a response. We may find a product to be defective if it does not function as intended, and the problem can lead to a hazard. The hazard does not necessarily need to stem from direct contact with the product itself. If its failure to operate as expected can expose anyone to a hazard, then we may potentially find that product to be defective and creating a risk of injury. To use your Avalanche Beacon example, since its purpose is a life safety device intended to assist in the location of someone buried in an avalanche, if it does not function as designed, it could be determined to contain a defect which creates a risk of injury. Such an analysis is contingent on the facts of each particular case.

Blake G. Rose


Defect Investigations Division

Office of Compliance and Field Operations U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission

I think this can require a lot of interpretations and leaves a real gap for because the explicit language of the law is different. The above statement is the CPSC interpretation of that language. You will need to look at what the problem is and will it lead to injury to a non-user. In many cases, it won’t, it is a warranty issue.

This issue is: How much are you will to risk and push the issue? If not, then recall your product no matter what the issue.

4.    Voluntary Standards

If a product fails to meet standards that are voluntary such as those created by the ASTM, ANSI or such other agency or trade association, then the CPSC has interpreted their regulations to say that product is defective and must be recalled.

At the same time, a product can meet the voluntary standard such as those of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) (16 C.F.R. § 1115.12(g)) and still need to be recalled because it is defective in a way that is not covered by the voluntary standard.

5.    When do you have to report?

You must report any product that has a “a fault, flaw, or irregularity that causes weakness, failure, or inadequacy in form or function.” (16 C.F.R. § 1115.4) If the product has a defect, then the issue is whether the defect creates a substantial product hazard.

A “substantial product hazard” is:

  1. A failure to comply with an applicable consumer product safety rule, which failure creates a substantial risk of injury to the public,
  2. A product defect which (because of the pattern of defect, the number of defective products distributed in commerce, the severity of the risk, or otherwise) creates a substantial risk of injury to the public (16 C.F.R. § 1115.2(a)).

A “substantial product hazard” exists when a defect creates a “substantial risk of injury.” The focus is on the risk of injury, not on actual injury reports or the severity of injuries (16 C.F.R. § 1115.12(g). Although in my experience, the severity and actual injuries having already occurred ends any discussion by the CPSC.

6.    Unreasonable Risk of Serious Injury or Death

“Serious injuries” are defined by the CPSC as “injuries necessitating hospitalization, which require actual medical or surgical treatment, fractures, lacerations requiring sutures, concussions, injuries to the eye, ear, or internal organs requiring medical treatment, and injuries necessitating absence from school or work of more than one day.’ (16 C. F. R. § 1115.6)

The requirements are not cumulative. Meaning a consumer can suffer serious injury if they receive sutures but don’t go to the hospital or miss work. The threshold has been met by just one issue.

The factors that are used to decide whether a risk of serious injury is “unreasonable” are the utility of the product, the level of exposure to consumers, the nature and severity of the hazard, whether the product is state of the art, the availability of alternative designs, and the feasibility of eliminating the risk without compromising utility (16 C. F. R. § 1115.6(b)).

I also think this clause affects the definition of defect. There is no unreasonable risk of series injury or death to any victim.

7.    Burden is on the Chain of Distribution to watch.

Regardless of which category the report will come under, you must pay attention to product testing results as well as watch for warranty claims, consumer complaints, product liability lawsuits and other quality related complaints for any indication that reportable defects or reportable injuries exist.

8.    When to Report

If a product contains a defect that has the actual or potential risk to cause injury, the CPSC will initiate a recall, generally with the manufacturer’s cooperation and input. However, the CPSC can imitate a recall even if the manufacturer opposes the recall.

9.    Corrective Action Plan (CAP)

A CAP is a document that describes the remedial action that the company is voluntarily undertaking with the CPSC’s approval to protect the public from an allegedly defective product (16 C.F.R. 1115.20(a)). (The threat of a fine does not remove the concept of voluntary from the CPSC nomenclature.)

The CPSC can initiate an enforcement action if it cannot reach agreement with the company on the corrective action plan, or if it becomes aware of additional facts that were not disclosed by the company.

10.    Components of the Corrective Action Plan

The CPSC can create the CAP it believes is necessary to solve the problem. Consequently, no CAP is the same as a prior one, in theory.

The corrective action plan may include:

  1. A description of the alleged hazard, including the alleged defect and any associated potential injuries
  2. Details pertaining to the vehicle and method of public notification such as a
    1. Letter
    2. Press Release
    3. Advertising
  3. Who a notice will be sent to
  4. The model number and description of the product
  5. Instructions for safe handling or use of the product pending the corrective action
  6. An explanation of the cause of the hazard if known
  7. The corrective action being taken to eliminate the hazard such as
    1. Repair
    2. Replacement
    3. Refund
  8. Whether the products are to be returned a plan for their disposition
  9. Steps taken to prevent reoccurrence of the hazard in the future
  10. Action taken to correct products in the distribution chain.
  11. In addition to this information, a corrective action plan
  12. Must be signed by company representatives
  13. Must acknowledge and agree that the CPSC has the power to monitor the action
  14. That the CPSC publicize the terms of the corrective action plan
  15. May contain a statement that the submission of the corrective action plan does not constitute an admission by the company that either reportable information or a substantial product hazard exists.

Some factors that are considered when the CPSC is determining whether to accept the corrective action plan are.

  • The promptness of the company’s reporting
  • Any remedial actions taken
  • And the likelihood that the company will fully comply with the plan based upon any prior corrective actions.

Consequently, maintaining a good relationship with the CPSC pays off. This is not an agency that aggressiveness works in achieving your goals. Employees of the CPSC regularly deal with the largest companies in the world, and threats are a joke.

In that same vein, I work hard to maintain my reputation with the CPSC and want to conform to the three steps identified above.

The CPSC can approve the plan, reject the plan and issue a complaint against the company which begins an administrative or judicial action, or take other action to ensure the plan is adequate, such as suggesting revisions to the plan (16 C.F.R. 1115.20(a)(2)).

11.    Recall Notice

The CPSC views a direct recall notice, or one that is sent directly to specifically identified consumers, as the most effective form of a recall notice. In any recall, at least two of the following forms of notice must be used:

  1. Letters, web site postings, e-mail, text message
  2. Computer, radio or television transmission
  3. Video news release, press release, recall alert or web stream.
  4. Newspaper, magazine, catalog or other publication
  5. Advertisement, newsletter or service bulletin (16 C.F.R. 1115.26).

In most cases, the CPSC will require a combination of notices and requires the manufacturer to monitor and report the effectiveness of the notices.

If a recall notice is posted on a web site, a link to the relevant information must be placed prominently on the home page (16 C.F.R. 1115.26). Because this is the first thing, most consumers will respond to in the eyes of the CPSC, the larger the notice and more prominent the notice the better.

The notice on the home page, and link to information on how to respond to the recall must be left on the page until the CPSC has released the manufacturer from the recall.

12.    Penalties

Penalties that can be levied by the CPSC increased in 2008. A fine of up to $100,000 for a single violation of the CPSA, and up to a maximum of $15 million for a series of violations can be levied by the CPSC (15 U.S.C. § 2069).

This increased in the amount and ability to fine, has changed the approach of many companies in dealing with the CPSC. Before the fine increase, the fines were nominal and a lot of companies would ignore the CPSC and hope they would not be discovered. Now, the fines are so substantial that you ignore the CPSC at your own peril.

13.    Failure to report

A failure to report a defective product or having the report created from the anonymous webpage or 800 number is the easiest way to incur the wrath of the CPSC. A failure to timely respond to the CPSC, and the completeness of the response increases the severity of any penalty for failure to report. The CPSC will also look at:

  • Whether a company had a reasonable safety and compliance program, in effect, at the time of the violation, including a system of collecting and analyzing information relating to safety issues such as incident reports and warranty claims;
  • Whether a company has a history of noncompliance with the CPSC that is deserving of a higher penalty for repeated noncompliance.
  • Whether a company has benefited economically from a delay in complying with the requirements;
  • Whether a company has failed to respond to the CPSC in a timely and complete fashion in response to requests for information or for remedial action (16C.F.R.1l19).

CPSC also examines the severity of the risk of injury, the occurrence or absence of injury, and the number of defective products or the amount of substance distributed.

The CPSC must also consider the nature, circumstances, extent and gravity of the violation, including the nature of the product defect or the substance; the appropriateness of the penalty in relation to the size of the business or of the person charged, including how to mitigate undue adverse economic impacts on small businesses; and other factors as appropriate.

14.    Preparing for a Recall

The best way to prepare for a recall is to read. If at any time you believe you may need to recall a product you should do two things.

  1. Assign someone to be the sole person responsible for dealing with the CPSC and with the recall. This person is going to spend 90% of their time the first two to three weeks dealing with the recall. After the CPSC approves the CAP then the responsible person only needs to track the responses to the recall and report every month.
  2. Read the following:
    2. If you believe you can benefit from the Fast Track Program:
    3. Download and read the CPSC Recall Handbook:
      1. In English:
      2. In Spanish:
  3. If you understand and are prepared the CPSC recall is not the nightmare that it has been labeled. It is not an easy and smooth process either. It will also cost the company thousands of dollars in time, fees and expenses apart from the cost of the actual recall.
  4. And you are working with Federal Bureaucrats. A couple of hints:
    1. Make sure you understand their terminology.
    2. Get clear deadlines and dates
    3. Follow up with every report or response you file to make sure it was.
      1. Received
      2. Correct or met the requirements/needs of the CPSC.
    4. Do not be afraid to ask for clarification, help or knowledge until you fully understand what the issue is.
    5. Do not be afraid to point out issues that are not clear, confusing, or you don’t understand or agree with.
    6. Ask your compliance officer after the CAP has been filed and approved what the CPSC expected goal is in response to your recall. That will determine when you can end the recall.

Once I was asking when we no longer had to file monthly reports. The contact I was working with at the CPSC, pulled up the reports and said, wow, you are done. After the reports start rolling in on time and correct, they can get lost in the system or ignored. You will have to stay on top of the reports and the CPSC to make sure they help you succeed and get off the program.

If you don’t ask you will be filing reports for years.

There is no way to plan for a recall. It is much better to plan to make sure you don’t have a recall. Quality control is the most important department in making sure a recall does not happen. If it does, you can quickly get up to speed. Working with your attorney and PR agency (yes, the CPSC wants you to have a PR firm or person) you can get through the first couple of weeks and then concentrate on running the business.

15. Starting a recall can take a month before the CPSC responds, what do I do.

If you want to get the word out because there is a real issue and people’s lives or well-being is at stake, the CPSC recall process is slow. After filing the initial notice, the CPSC will get back to you with questions and requirements for a plan in a couple of days. You will have twenty days to respond. The CPSC can take another week or two to finalize the recall information, notices and press releases.

That can be too long in our industry.

Nothing in the regulations says you cannot notify people of the recall on your own. The CPSC will tell you that you may have to do it again, if they do not like the way, you did it, the press release or notices you used, etc. You will do it again because the CPSC will want it done again. However, that is a small price to pay if you save one of your user’s life or limb.

Get the world to your retailers, distribution change, major media outlets and social media immediately. Whatever users you have contact information for contact them immediately. Do the same for user groups, associations and any professionals using your equipment.

Include what you do in any communication with the CPSC. You can upload these documents when you file the report, or as you send them out. The CPSC is going to respond that you did it wrong. However, I have to believe that if they understand your issues, the risk, and your efforts, they must believe and appreciate what you did, in an attempt to save lives.

The CPSC is a federal regulatory body, and no matter the urgency is going to respond, their way and only their way. You must follow their rules. However, nothing prevents you from jumping the gun and notifying people any way you can to save people.

What do you think? Leave a comment.

Copyright 2018 Recreation Law (720) 334 8529

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By Recreation Law    James H. Moss

#AdventureTourism, #AdventureTravelLaw, #AdventureTravelLawyer, #AttorneyatLaw, #Backpacking, #BicyclingLaw, #Camps, #ChallengeCourse, #ChallengeCourseLaw, #ChallengeCourseLawyer, #CyclingLaw, #FitnessLaw, #FitnessLawyer, #Hiking, #HumanPowered, #HumanPoweredRecreation, #IceClimbing, #JamesHMoss, #JimMoss, #Law, #Mountaineering, #Negligence, #OutdoorLaw, #OutdoorRecreationLaw, #OutsideLaw, #OutsideLawyer, #RecLaw, #Rec-Law, #RecLawBlog, #Rec-LawBlog, #RecLawyer, #RecreationalLawyer, #RecreationLaw, #RecreationLawBlog, #RecreationLawcom, #Recreation-Lawcom,, #RiskManagement, #RockClimbing, #RockClimbingLawyer, #RopesCourse, #RopesCourseLawyer, #SkiAreas, #Skiing, #SkiLaw, #Snowboarding, #SummerCamp, #Tourism, #TravelLaw, #YouthCamps, #ZipLineLawyer,

A Waiver is giving up a right and is revocable agreement. A release is a contractual agreement not to sue and can be made irrevocable. If you run a recreational or sporting activity, you want a release, not something where the people can change their minds.

Here the defendant used a release. The plaintiff argued it was a waiver and assumption of the risk document and should be barred because they had been outlawed in Connecticut as a defense. The court agreed.

Rodriguez v. Brownstone Exploration & Discover Park, LLC, 2017 Conn. Super. LEXIS 844


Plaintiff: Yulissa Rodriguez

Defendant: Brownstone Exploration & Discover Park, LLC

Plaintiff Claims:

Defendant Defenses:

Holding: for the defendant

Year: 2017


The plaintiff was injured using a rope swing at the defendant’s park.

Many states abolished the defense of Assumption of the risk. In this case, the plaintiff argued that the release she signed was just an assumption of the risk document and was void because that defense was abolished.

The plaintiff also argued the document was titled a waiver and therefore, was not a release. Both arguments of the defendant were struck down. The first because a waiver is not a release and the second because the document was no different from an assumption of the risk document, which was no longer a defense in Connecticut.


Plaintiff filed a motion to strike the first two affirmative defenses, or here; the court referred to them as special defenses, the defendant pleaded. When a defendant answers a complaint, the defendant can plead the defenses to the specific facts and legal claims, and the defendant can plead affirmative defenses. Affirmative defenses are a list of approved defenses, that if they are not pled, are lost to the defendant.

Release is an affirmative defense in most states and was pled in this case.

To get rid of the special defenses, the plaintiff filed a motion to strike.

“‘A party wanting to contest the legal sufficiency of a special defense may do so by filing a motion to strike.’ A motion to strike admits all facts well pleaded; it does not admit legal conclusions or the truth or accuracy of opinions stated in the pleadings.’ . . ‘In ruling on a motion to strike, the court must accept as true the facts alleged in the special defenses and construe them in the manner most favorable to sustaining their legal sufficiency.’ . . . ‘On the other hand, the total absence of any factual allegations specific to the dispute renders [a special defense] legally insufficient.

The court’s response to the motion to strike is here.

Analysis: making sense of the law based on these facts.

The plaintiff’s argument was because the courts had abolished the defense f assumption of the risk, the releases were not valid because they were only proof of assumption of the risk. The plaintiff argued:

“Waiver” and “Release” are, in actuality, based on assumption of risk because they purport to relieve defendant of liability for risks inherent in the activity, which by statute is not a valid defense in this negligence action.

The first affirmative defense was waiver. In vast majority of states, a waiver is different from a release. Waiver’s can be revoked. When you waive a right, a lot of states allow you to revoke that waiver. A release is a contract and can only be terminated by the terms of the agreement.

The court reviewed the prior defense of assumption of the risk.

‘Traditionally, the doctrine provided a defendant with a complete defense to a claim of negligence that centered on the conduct of the plaintiff . . . [T]he assumption of risk variants fall generally into two separate categories: (1) a negligence defense that the plaintiff’s conduct operated so as to relieve the defendant of a duty of care with regard to the plaintiff; and (2) a negligence defense that, while conceding that the defendant owed a duty of care and breached that duty, precludes recovery by the plaintiff because the plaintiff was aware of the defendant’s negligence and the risk thereby created, but nevertheless chose to confront such risk.

However, the courts and or legislatures had abolished the defense because they felt it had not kept up with the times. Instead, the concept of assumption of the risk was part of the facts the jury undertook to determine the damages to be awarded to the plaintiff. If the plaintiff assumed the risk, then the jury could reduce the damages the plaintiff would receive.

Since then, many courts have reinstated the defense of assumption of the risk as a defense in sport and recreational activities. Many legislatures have also brought back the defense in statutes covering sports and recreational activities, such as Skier Safety Statutes. However, Connecticut has not done that. In Connecticut, assumption of the risk is not a defense; it has been merged into comparative negligence.

In this case, the release signed by the plaintiff was titled “Assumption of Risk, Release of Liability, Waiver of Claims & Arbitration Agreement.” The plaintiff argued that the document was a written assumption of risk document and should be void.

Under Connecticut law a Waiver is “the voluntary relinquishment or abandonment of a known right or privilege.” This is quite different from a release, which is contractually giving a right to sue over an injury prior to the injury. Waiver’s can be oral or in writing. The common waiver you hear about all the time is a criminal suspect on TV being told their rights. At any time, the criminal defendant can change their mind and not give up their rights because they waived their rights, which are reversible.

Connecticut courts have recognized that pre-injury waiver as a defense to a claim based on inherent risks from an activity is not the same as a waiver of a claim of defendant’s own negligence.

The court continued its analysis of Connecticut law by reviewing Connecticut Supreme Court decisions on the issue. Here the court differentiated between inherent risks, which are still assumed and assumption of risk as a defense.

…the Supreme Court differentiated between pre-injury release from inherent risks of an activity, defined by reference to a dictionary definition of “inherent” as “structural or involved in the constitution or essential character of something,” from release of negligence that involves the exercise of some control over the activity and/or conditions by defendant.

The court then found that the language of the waiver was only a defense to the inherent risks of the activity. A waiver under Connecticut law is not a release.

The language of the waiver provision here is limited to “the inherent risks of this activity” and is not broad enough to exculpate defendant for its own negligence.

The defendant was unable to prove that there was a difference between their documents and the loss of the assumption of risk defense. Meaning the defendant lost their motion because the waiver was the same in this case as assumption of the risk, which had been abolished.

Defendant has failed to show that the waiver special defense is the same as the assumption of risk defense abolished by C.G.S. §52-572h(l). Stated otherwise, defendant has failed to show the statutory prohibition extended to waiver by contract. The motion to strike the First Special Defense is denied.

The second motion based on release was also denied for the same reason.

A contractual release of liability for inherent risks from an activity is not conceptually the same thing as assumption of risk from participation in a risky activity. Defendant has failed to show that the release special defense is the same as the assumption of risk defense abolished by C.G.S. §52-572h(l). Stated otherwise, defendant has failed to show the statutory prohibition extended to releases by contract. The motion to strike the Second Special Defense is denied.

So Now What?

This decision picked through, carefully, the differences between a defense that had been merged into a way to determine damages, assumption of the risk, and a contractual document to release the defendant from liability.

The decision is also confusing as hell!

The result is you must carefully write your release in Connecticut. You must define the risks and have the signor agree those risks are inherent in the activity.

What do you think? Leave a comment.

Copyright 2018 Recreation Law (720) 334 8529

If you like this let your friends know or post it on FB, Twitter or LinkedIn

If you are interested in having me write your release, fill out this Information Form and Contract and send it to me.

Author: Outdoor Recreation Insurance, Risk Management and Law

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Facebook Page: Outdoor Recreation & Adventure Travel Law


By Recreation Law    James H. Moss

#AdventureTourism, #AdventureTravelLaw, #AdventureTravelLawyer, #AttorneyatLaw, #Backpacking, #BicyclingLaw, #Camps, #ChallengeCourse, #ChallengeCourseLaw, #ChallengeCourseLawyer, #CyclingLaw, #FitnessLaw, #FitnessLawyer, #Hiking, #HumanPowered, #HumanPoweredRecreation, #IceClimbing, #JamesHMoss, #JimMoss, #Law, #Mountaineering, #Negligence, #OutdoorLaw, #OutdoorRecreationLaw, #OutsideLaw, #OutsideLawyer, #RecLaw, #Rec-Law, #RecLawBlog, #Rec-LawBlog, #RecLawyer, #RecreationalLawyer, #RecreationLaw, #RecreationLawBlog, #RecreationLawcom, #Recreation-Lawcom,, #RiskManagement, #RockClimbing, #RockClimbingLawyer, #RopesCourse, #RopesCourseLawyer, #SkiAreas, #Skiing, #SkiLaw, #Snowboarding, #SummerCamp, #Tourism, #TravelLaw, #YouthCamps, #ZipLineLawyer, #RecreationLaw, #OutdoorLaw, #OutdoorRecreationLaw, #SkiLaw,

Creating and Reviewing Your Risk-Management Plan

Score 1 Point for Each Correct Answer

  • You have a Risk-Management Plan.
  • Employees know there is a Risk-Management Plan.
  • The Employees know the Risk-Management Plan.
  • Employees know their position & responsibility in the Risk-Management Plan.
  • Employees know the responsibilities of the person above and below them in the Risk-Management Plan.
  • The Employees carry their responsibilities in the Risk-Management Plan with them.
  • The Employees carry with them all information they need to communicate if there is a problem to the necessary people in the Risk-Management Plan.
  • The Risk-Management Plan has been updated in the past 12 months.
  • The Employees have been trained in the Risk-Management Plan in the past 12 months.
  • A mock disaster has been held using the Risk-Management Plan.
  • You have identified a team to deal with the human issues of an incident after the incident is under control.
  • Senior Managers have gone through the same training and drills as the employees.
  • You have not had to use the Risk-Management Plan

Grading your plan!

0-1 Point:    Lock the doors and go home now.

2-5 Points:    Prepare to lose a lawsuit

6-9 Points    Good, but you can do better

10-12 Points    Not bad

13 Points    Excellent

Your score is important; however, it may not be the biggest issue you face you’re your risk-management plan. The biggest problem facing outdoor recreation and adventure travel businesses is not the issue of having a plan. It is creating a plan that is workable, able to be used by employees and one that will NOT haunt you later. A Risk-Management Plan must:

  • Works
  • be understood
  • Not come back to haunt you

Your front line employees will not know or remember a complicated risk management plan. They need to either be able to reference or respond with very few steps. Your front-line employees are also going to be the face of your risk-management plan because they will be the ones to discover the problem and start to implement the plan.

Risk Management plans developed and understood by management are job security, not litigation prevention programs.

A risk-management plan is not a management-level plan. It is a plan for the people who will be using it. Those employees making the phone calls, dealing with the problems and helping the victims are the people who must know and be able to execute the plan.

The next major issue I find with risk management plans is the plan is written to cover every possible scenario.

The biggest failure of a risk-management plan is they are too complicated and consequently, only the person who wrote the plan can follow it. Your plan must work for your employees; Not your risk manager, your lawyer or your insurance and never just for your industry.

Write your plan to be used, not to be a way to use your imagination about what could possibly go wrong.

You cannot write a plan that covers every scenario. If you could it would occupy one entire wall of your office in three Ring Binders. Once written, the plan would be in a constant state of revision, by an entire team of people.

And even then you plan would not cover everything. So why waste the time, energy and money in trying to write a plan that covers everything. Inevitably, it is not going to cover the problem that you are having. It just seems to work that way.

You need a plan that:

  • Can be remembered and executed by all your employees.
  • Each employee’s part of the plan can be easily carried with them for reference.
  • The employee has access to and the information necessary to communicate the need for the plan and their responsibilities under the plan.
  • The plain works for every incident possible.


  • Your plan for the front-line employees should fit on a 3X5 card on one side’
  • The other side of the plan has phone numbers of the people that employee is supposed to contact to activate the plan (or radio channels).
  • The only person who may have more of a plan than on a 3X5 card is going to be the person at the top to work on follow up
  • Basically an employee’s plan is going to be stop the bleeding, stabilize, call 911, and call the supervisor.
  • Your plan must be something that can be executed without referring to anything within 30 seconds.

Your risk-management plan must be written by your company, which means every person in the company, understood by every person and executable by everyone. Anything more is just going to be ignored when EMS, USFS or any other responding agency comes on the scene.

Risk Management Plans only work if the people executing the Plan Know How to Work.

Quit writing and re-writing your plan and start training your employees on what to do if something does not go as planned.

Risk Management is education, not paperwork!

What do you think? Leave a comment.

Copyright 2018 Recreation Law (720) 334 8529

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By Recreation Law    James H. Moss

#AdventureTourism, #AdventureTravelLaw, #AdventureTravelLawyer, #AttorneyatLaw, #Backpacking, #BicyclingLaw, #Camps, #ChallengeCourse, #ChallengeCourseLaw, #ChallengeCourseLawyer, #CyclingLaw, #FitnessLaw, #FitnessLawyer, #Hiking, #HumanPowered, #HumanPoweredRecreation, #IceClimbing, #JamesHMoss, #JimMoss, #Law, #Mountaineering, #Negligence, #OutdoorLaw, #OutdoorRecreationLaw, #OutsideLaw, #OutsideLawyer, #RecLaw, #Rec-Law, #RecLawBlog, #Rec-LawBlog, #RecLawyer, #RecreationalLawyer, #RecreationLaw, #RecreationLawBlog, #RecreationLawcom, #Recreation-Lawcom,, #RiskManagement, #RockClimbing, #RockClimbingLawyer, #RopesCourse, #RopesCourseLawyer, #SkiAreas, #Skiing, #SkiLaw, #Snowboarding, #SummerCamp, #Tourism, #TravelLaw, #YouthCamps, #ZipLineLawyer,

Plaintiff loses because experts could not prove his claims against a camp used for a football camp.

ACA trained expert witness was hired by injured plaintiff to prove a claim against a summer camp. Again, camp money is used to train expert who then is used against the camp.

Staten Et. Al. v. The City of New York Et. Al., 2013 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 4257; 2013 NY Slip Op 32252(U)

State: New York, Supreme Court of New York, Richmond County

Plaintiff: Marvin Staten, an Infant Over the Age of 14 years by his Parent and Natural Guardian Cassandra Dozier and Cassandra Dozier, Individually

Defendant: The City of New York, The New York City Department of Education, Camp Chen-A-Wanda, Inc., Louis Cintron, Sr., Louis Cintron, Jr., an infant over the age of 14 years by his Parent and Natural Guardian, Louis Cintron, Sr., Barbara Rose Cintron and Louis Cintron, Jr. an infant over the age of 14 years by his Parent and Natural guardian, Barbara Rose Cintron, Defendants

Plaintiff Claims: Negligent supervision and maintenance of the premises

Defendant Defenses:

Holding: For the defendant Camp

Year: 2013


American Camp Association (ACA) trained expert witness used ACA material to try and prove the summer camp was liable for the injuries of a camper. The summer camp had passed the duty to control the kids to the school district that had rented the camp and as such was not liable.

To be able to sue for emotional damages under New York law, the parent must have financial damages also. Lacking that, the mother’s claims were dismissed.


This ruling is the result of several motions filed by different parties and can be confusing.

The minors were at a summer week long football camp. The camp was rented by the defendant New York Department of Education. The camp, Camp Chen-A-Wanda, Inc., was located in Pennsylvania.

The plaintiff was looking through the cabin window where he was bunking to see if anyone was messing with his stuff. The defendant minor punched the plaintiff through the window, injuring the plaintiff with the broken glass from the window. The plaintiff’s expert identified this action as horseplay?

At his deposition, plaintiff testified that shortly after dinner on the date of the accident, he was standing outside his cabin, looking in through a window to “see if anybody was messing around with [his] stuff” when, after a few seconds, defendant Cintron “punched [through] the glass”

The defendant minor had been disciplined before by the school district for fighting.

There was a written agreement between the Defendant Camp and the school district, where the school district agreed to provide one adult (person over age 19) per cabin. In the cabin where the incident took place, the supervisors were two seniors, one of whom was the defendant minor.

The agreement gave control of the people at the camp, including campers to the school district renting the facilities.

This is the decision concerning the various motions.

Analysis: making sense of the law based on these facts.

The camp filed a motion for summary judgment arguing:

(1) it owed no duty to supervise plaintiff or to otherwise protect him from horseplay; (2) no facts have been adduced in support of plaintiffs’ claim that the subject window constituted a “defective condition”; and (3) since the proximate cause of the accident was the sudden, unanticipated independent actions of Cintron (i.e., punching the glass), the Camp cannot be found liable for plaintiff’s injury.

The plaintiff argued the camp was negligent and negligent per se. The negligence per se claim was based on a regulation that required safety glass to be used in windows of bunkhouses. The plaintiff also argued the camp was negligent for failing to exercise risk management and supervise the campers.

I’ve never seen a claim that it was negligent to fail to exercise risk management.

The expert hired by the plaintiff had “44 years in the camping industry and a co-author of the American Camp Association’s ‘2006 Camp Accreditation Process Guide’.” However, the court found the testimony of the expert was conclusory and insufficient to raise a question of fact.

…”conclusory testimony” offered by plaintiff’s expert was “insufficient to raise a question of fact as to whether [the Camp] breached its duty to maintain[] [its] property in a reasonably safe condition in view of all the circumstances, including the likelihood of injury to others, the seriousness of the in-jury, and the burden of avoiding the risk” and, further, that the failure of plaintiff’s expert to quote any “authority, treatise [or] standard” in support thereof rendered his ultimate opinion speculative and/or “unsupported by any evidentiary foundation…[sufficient] to withstand summary judgment.

The basis of the plaintiff’s expert witness testimony was based on the 2006 American Camp Association Accreditation Process Guide. However, he failed to demonstrate how, where or when the guide had “been accepted as an authoritative reference work in any court of law, or its applicability to a camp constructed in the 1940s.”

The court also found the expert witnesses reliance on the building codes was misplaced because the camp had been built thirty years prior to the creation of the building code.

The court then stated, “the Camp’s motion for summary judgment is granted, and the complaint and any cross claims as against this defendant are hereby severed and dismissed.”

The court then looked at the cities (New York’s) motions. The court found the duty to supervise the youth was contractually assumed by the city in its contract with the camp. The school also had knowledge of the propensity of the defendant minor to get in fights.

In this regard, actual or constructive notice to the school of prior similar conduct is generally required, since school personnel cannot be reasonably expected to guard against all of the sudden and spontaneous acts that take place among students on a daily basis

The it was foreseeable the fight could occur.

The plaintiff’s mothers claim against the city were dismissed.

However, it is well settled that a parent cannot recover for the loss of society and companionship of a child who was negligently injured, while a claim for the loss of a child’s services must be capable of monetarization in order to be compensable. Here, plaintiff’s mother has offered no proof of the value of any services rendered to her by her son. As a result, so much of the complaint as seeks an award of damages in her individual capacity for the loss of her son’s services must be severed and dismissed.

The defendant camp was dismissed from the lawsuit. The mother’s claims were dismissed from the lawsuit because she could not prove actual damages, only emotional damages, which are not a cause of action in New York.

So Now What?

Here again an ACA trained expert witness tries to use ACA material to prove a camp is negligent. The expert would have been successful if he had better training as an expert witness and knew had to get his guide into evidence.

There are great organizations doing great things for their membership. ACA is one of those organizations. However, like others, the attempt to help their membership be better is making their lives in court a living hell.

What would you think if the person sitting across from you being deposed or on the witness stand says you are a crummy operation and negligent. And you know that your association money went into training him and creating the documents he is using to prove you were negligent.

The final issue is many states are reducing or eliminating who can sue for emotional damages when they witness or are relatives of the plaintiff. Here New York has said you can’t sue for emotional damages for the injury your child received if you don’t have financial damages in the game also.

What do you think? Leave a comment.

Copyright 2018 Recreation Law (720) 334 8529

If you like this let your friends know or post it on FB, Twitter or LinkedIn


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Author: Outdoor Recreation Insurance, Risk Management and Law

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By Recreation Law    James H. Moss

#AdventureTourism, #AdventureTravelLaw, #AdventureTravelLawyer, #AttorneyatLaw, #Backpacking, #BicyclingLaw, #Camps, #ChallengeCourse, #ChallengeCourseLaw, #ChallengeCourseLawyer, #CyclingLaw, #FitnessLaw, #FitnessLawyer, #Hiking, #HumanPowered, #HumanPoweredRecreation, #IceClimbing, #JamesHMoss, #JimMoss, #Law, #Mountaineering, #Negligence, #OutdoorLaw, #OutdoorRecreationLaw, #OutsideLaw, #OutsideLawyer, #RecLaw, #Rec-Law, #RecLawBlog, #Rec-LawBlog, #RecLawyer, #RecreationalLawyer, #RecreationLaw, #RecreationLawBlog, #RecreationLawcom, #Recreation-Lawcom,, #RiskManagement, #RockClimbing, #RockClimbingLawyer, #RopesCourse, #RopesCourseLawyer, #SkiAreas, #Skiing, #SkiLaw, #Snowboarding, #SummerCamp, #Tourism, #TravelLaw, #YouthCamps, #ZipLineLawyer, #RecreationLaw, #OutdoorLaw, #OutdoorRecreationLaw, #SkiLaw,

It is hard to understand the law because there are so many variations of the law and fifty different states with laws. It is harder to understand the law when the person explaining it to you is not a lawyer or worse, wrong.

It is hard to understand the law because there are so many variations of the law and fifty different states with laws. It is harder to understand the law when the person explaining it to you is not a lawyer or worse, wrong.

You don’t go to law school for fun. Law school is NOT fun. You go to law school to understand how the law works. Law School is just the first step. You must study and understand what is going on to understand an area of the law.

If you did not go to law school, and you need legal help, ask a lawyer.

I got a question the other day from a client. He was preparing to give a speech to a group of lodge owners and wanted to make sure he was going to say the right thing about the Good Samaritan Act. He had read a lot of websites and particularly one website and thought he understood the issues.

He did not. Neither did the websites. In fact, one of the websites, which was based on the course and book he had just taken described what the Good Samaritan law was based for that course. The course, book and class were wrong too.

My client was off, and the website was wrong. The problem is the wrong was enough to get you in trouble as a professional, program college or business.

You really need to beware of non-lawyers telling you what the law says.

First, there is not one Good Samaritan Law, there are at least fifty, in reality, there are more than 150. Each state has its own Good Samaritan law. Many states have many different laws covering rescue, first aid, AED use, the Heimlich maneuver and other aspects of providing support to injured people without becoming liable.

Everyone explains the Good Samaritan law as you are not liable if you help someone in need and are not paid for that help. Sort of.

All the following are requirements from different state Good Samaritan laws. You are covered…

  • If you have the right training
    • Some states list the training you must have
    • You follow the standards of a specific training organization (dependent upon the state).
      • American Red Cross
      • American Heart Association
      • National Safety Council
      • National Ski Patrol
      • Boy Scouts of America
      • A course as determined by the Secretary of Health and Mental Hygiene
      • Department of Public Health
      • director of health
      • mining enforcement and safety administration of the bureau of mines of the department of interior
      • Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services
  • If you don’t act outside the scope of your training
  • You act like a reasonable or ordinary prudent person
  • If you are not being paid for your services
  • You are not in a hospital or in some states on hospital grounds
  • You are a member of an organization that exists to provide emergency services
  • You act in good faith
  • You have been called to act by the county sheriff
  • You are paid but not to provide first aid, only to provide public services
  • You did not act willfully, wantonly or recklessly or by gross negligence
  • The care is provided at the scene of the accident
  • You are at work
  • You are not at work
  • You’ve been trained in the use of the AED
  • You’ve been trained in the use of the epinephrine
  • You are not the one that caused the injury or placed the person in peril
  • Or you have not obtained consent

You are NOT covered by Good Samaritan Laws in some states if….

  • “…or when incidental to a business relationship existing between the employer or principal of the person rendering such care…”
  • Shall not apply if the care inures to your employer
  • Where the person has not consented to the care
  • Are working as a guide or outfitter
    • Whether or Not you are being paid as a guide
      • If you are required to have 1st aid you are not covered
    • Whether or Not being paid as a physician
      • But some states allow you to be paid later as a physician
  • You placed the person in peril
    • Meaning any part of the trip as a guide

Just look at the requirement that the care be rendered at the scene of the accident. You are helping someone get out of the backcountry, and you adjust their band aid, away from the accident scene. In man states you are not covered by the state Good Samaritan act.

As a Guide are you covered by the Good Samaritan Act? NO!

My client’s confusion was the fine line between compensation for your services, and compensation as a guide or employee, because you are paid to provide first aid. Meaning as a guide, who may or may not be required to provide first aid or have first aid training, are you covered under the Good Samaritan law, if you provide first aid training to one of your guests. In most cases no.

There is no Good Samaritan coverage if:

    You are employed and part of your job is to provide first aid

        Because you are required to have a level of first aid training

        The industry requires people to be trained in first aid

    The guest knows you are trained in first aid and relies on that knowledge you gave them

    The landowner or river owner requires it under a permit or concession

    You placed the guest in the peril that caused the injury.

        You picked the location where the guide is fishing

        You picked the route up the mountain

    You told the guest to follow the map you gave them on the ride or hike

You are a guide, and you took the client out; you are not covered by the Good Samaritan laws in most states.

You are a guide, the definition meaning you will take care of the client.

And the issues above are not changed in the Outdoor Recreation Industry by using Independent Contractors. In all cases, the guide and the outfitter are liable.

Consequently, a website, class or book cannot in one paragraph tell you whether your actions are going to be covered by the Good Samaritan law.

I hope you are covered by the Good Samaritan law, but find out for sure.

Do Something

It sucks but getting legal advice from someone other than attorney does not work.

What do you think? Leave a comment.

Copyright 2018 Recreation Law (720) 334 8529

If you like this let your friends know or post it on FB, Twitter or LinkedIn

If you are interested in having me write your release, fill out this Information Form and Contract and send it to me.

Author: Outdoor Recreation Insurance, Risk Management and Law

To Purchase Go Here:

Facebook Page: Outdoor Recreation & Adventure Travel Law


Google+: +Recreation

Twitter: RecreationLaw

Facebook: Rec.Law.Now

Facebook Page: Outdoor Recreation & Adventure Travel Law


Mobile Site:

By Recreation Law    James H. Moss

#AdventureTourism, #AdventureTravelLaw, #AdventureTravelLawyer, #AttorneyatLaw, #Backpacking, #BicyclingLaw, #Camps, #ChallengeCourse, #ChallengeCourseLaw, #ChallengeCourseLawyer, #CyclingLaw, #FitnessLaw, #FitnessLawyer, #Hiking, #HumanPowered, #HumanPoweredRecreation, #IceClimbing, #JamesHMoss, #JimMoss, #Law, #Mountaineering, #Negligence, #OutdoorLaw, #OutdoorRecreationLaw, #OutsideLaw, #OutsideLawyer, #RecLaw, #Rec-Law, #RecLawBlog, #Rec-LawBlog, #RecLawyer, #RecreationalLawyer, #RecreationLaw, #RecreationLawBlog, #RecreationLawcom, #Recreation-Lawcom,, #RiskManagement, #RockClimbing, #RockClimbingLawyer, #RopesCourse, #RopesCourseLawyer, #SkiAreas, #Skiing, #SkiLaw, #Snowboarding, #SummerCamp, #Tourism, #TravelLaw, #YouthCamps, #ZipLineLawyer,