Active beach volleyball league players found a local town park that was open pre-beach season to start practicing at. One person has decided to keep an email list of people looking for pick up games at that town park and over past 2 yrs started arranging pick up games on weekends. This has now rolled into him naming a league...with his name in it. He's setting up web sites to sign up for info, FB, email blasts...in all sense promoting this as a league. Even going as far as making up t-shirts for it as well. He has not incorporated himself or the league, formed a non for profit or anything. Just calls it's " XXX weekend VB league" A few of us are concerned that he has gone to far and is not covering himself from any liability should some kind of accident occur. He and other's say that it's the parks insurance that would cover any accident or injury.
He likely has a duty to provide a safe court if he is the sponsor and would probably get sued along with the Town. I don't think he is covered under the Town policy. The assumption of risk doctrine would be a defense to most claims but not all.
I am a former federal and State prosecutor and have been handling criminal defense and personal injury cases for over 18 years. The above answer, and any follow up comments or emails, is for informational purposes only and not meant as legal advice.
He is not absolutely shielded from any liability. If he gets sued, the bottom line is he will need to pay an attorney to defend himself. That being said, whether the injured party will prevail on proving liability is another question that would depend heavily on the allegations surrounding the injury so we cannot speculate any further as to whether a plaintiff would actually prevail against him.
He should have every player sign a waiver or he can find himself as a defendant should someone get injured.
Anyone could be sued. The question is would the plaintiff ( the person suing your friend ) would prevail. There are many variables that must be considered in your hypothetical situation. At this point, I suggest that your friend look into purchasing a league insurance policy as the league organizer. If your friend is sued, the insurance company should provide counsel and pay any award or settlement.
He and his friends are not lawyers are they? They are wrong. Participants are responsible for their own negligence which results in damages to others or to property.
Your friend should make sure that he has homeowners or renters insurance in an adequate amount to protect him from claims of negligence.
If this league is not being operated for profit or with fees being paid etc., it is hardly much different than a flash mob.
Legal Disclaimer: If this information has been helpful, please indicate below. Mr. Lundeen is licensed to practice law in Florida and Vermont. The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that, if known, could significantly change the reply and make it unsuitable. Mr. Lundeen strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in your state in order to ensure proper advice is received.
Two things which are important for your friend:
1) Obtain adequate insurance;
2) Make the participants sign waivers.
If he is acting as the manager of the league and outwardly representing that he is providing the premises, he may be named in a suit. If he takes care of the volleyball court before, during or after games, he needs to ensure that he keeps it in a reasonably safe condition.
The more hands on he is, the more likely he can become susceptible to a lawsuit.
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