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Mr. Obvious
RE: Unregistered MudRun participant sues when paralyzed 5/17/2012 12:17PM - in reply to Old Man Runner Reply | Return to Index | Report Post

Old Man Runner wrote:

Lets all go back to the fact that HE WAS AN UN-REGISTERED PARTICIPANT. He didn't sign a waiver. So technically he didn't "run" anything at all. He should be arrested for trespassing.


Unfortunately I don't think that has any bearing on the outcome at all. If you maintain your property in an unsafe condition and somebody gets hurt they can sue you even if they were trespassing.
Frank Reynolds
RE: Unregistered MudRun participant sues when paralyzed 5/17/2012 12:18PM - in reply to garland823 Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
If a spectator jumped into the mud pit and hurt themselves could they sue the race? I feel like if this guy was just watching the race and did what he did the case would get thrown out pretty quick. He wasn't registered, soooo what does that make him? A spectator.

Obviously, you have to feel bad for a dude getting paralyzed, but calling a 30:00 minute 5k runner a "fit guy" is laughable. Either this guy is just an ass and trying to place his anger for being paralyzed on someone else, or the lawyer who snatched up the case is going for an Ambulance Chaser of the Year award. Just another example of stupid people not wanting to take responsibility for their actions.
Another Opinion
RE: Unregistered MudRun participant sues when paralyzed 5/17/2012 12:19PM - in reply to bangalangadanga Reply | Return to Index | Report Post

bangalangadanga wrote:

here. i'll win the case for the defendant.

the event purchases insurance for this sort of thing.
people subsidize that purchase with entry fees.

this guy did not buy insurance for the event.
this guy has no claim to any insurance funded by the participants and the mud run organization.

sorry. buy insurance next time.


This makes sense to those with "common sense". But when was the last time a court review on this type of claim resulted in a common sense opinion or ruling. I suspect, the court will actually rule in favor of the Plaintif with a much lower award. But Oh do I hope they dont. had this yahoo paid his fee like everyone else, then he certainly would have a legitimate claim in my opinion...but I think the court will find he has a legitimate claim now...which sucks!
Mr. Obvious
RE: Unregistered MudRun participant sues when paralyzed 5/17/2012 12:20PM - in reply to jhrjtyg Reply | Return to Index | Report Post

jhrjtyg wrote:

I'm speaking as a clueless 20 something here with zero legal experience, but isn't this whole case hinging on the negligence of the mud pit? The plaintiff isn't saying "they shouldn't have let me run", they're saying "that pit was built in an unsafe manner". If the pit was unsafe but he was there illegally, there would still be a problem. Like someone else said, it will be very interesting to see the effect this had on other runs like this.

Either way, I think you've gotta feel bad for both sides. This is a guy who obviously was pretty active and enjoyed these sorts of things and now he can't do that anymore or even work. Say what you will about the merits of his case, but at the end of the day he's a guy who can't run any more. Then you have the race organizers who, worst case scenario, will be out million of dollars. Even if they are found to not be at fault it's still an expensive and stressful situation to be in.


I think you have summarized teh legal merits correctly.

I feel bad that the guy got injured but I still think he is an asshole for suing.
Mr. Obvious
RE: Unregistered MudRun participant sues when paralyzed 5/17/2012 12:21PM - in reply to Frank Reynolds Reply | Return to Index | Report Post

Frank Reynolds wrote:

If a spectator jumped into the mud pit and hurt themselves could they sue the race? I feel like if this guy was just watching the race and did what he did the case would get thrown out pretty quick. He wasn't registered, soooo what does that make him? A spectator.



I think you are wrong. If the mud pit was built in a negligent manner I don't think his status is going to matter.
present, esq.
RE: Unregistered MudRun participant sues when paralyzed 5/17/2012 12:22PM - in reply to jhrjtyg Reply | Return to Index | Report Post

jhrjtyg wrote:
If the pit was unsafe but he was there illegally, there would still be a problem.


Well, one problem is whether "illegally" applies to the situation. Tort law (black-letter law and case law) does vary widely from one jurisdiction to another, but here's what part of one decision (about an injured person who assuredly *was* in a place "illegally") said:

“[A] man’s life or limb does not become less worthy of protection by the law nor a loss less worthy of compensation under the law because he has come upon the land of another without permission…
reasonable people do not ordinarily vary their conduct depending upon such matters.”

Gotta love the law.
FanTam
RE: Unregistered MudRun participant sues when paralyzed 5/17/2012 12:23PM - in reply to garland823 Reply | Return to Index | Report Post

garland823 wrote:
Agreed. I can't believe people on Letsrun are disagreeing with that statement. Regardless, it's absurd that this clown is using a 30 minute 5k to give him athletic credibility.


Well I was only joking, but I will say that the guy could be a fit old guy who just isn't very fast.

The comment from the attorney was "He was an active, fit guy, which makes it more tragic for him." Not fit in a running sense, but he took care of his body and was active.

I don't think this guy is claiming that he was a good runner, by any means.

That being said, I agree that 10 minute pace is slow as fvck and screw him for being so slow.

Another point... I am not sure the waiver even matters. I mean, can't you be sued if you own a pool and someone sneaks into your yard and drowns? Even if they are not supposed to be there?
Mr. Obvious
RE: Unregistered MudRun participant sues when paralyzed 5/17/2012 12:24PM - in reply to Another Opinion Reply | Return to Index | Report Post

Another Opinion wrote:

This makes sense to those with "common sense". But when was the last time a court review on this type of claim resulted in a common sense opinion or ruling. I suspect, the court will actually rule in favor of the Plaintif with a much lower award. But Oh do I hope they dont. had this yahoo paid his fee like everyone else, then he certainly would have a legitimate claim in my opinion...but I think the court will find he has a legitimate claim now...which sucks!


I hope that the judge will throw out the claim as a matter or law. Unfortunately judges are reluctant to do that. Juries see a guy who is hurt and see an insurance company at the other end and are very prone to awarding damages regardless of the circumstances.

BTW, I don't think paying his fee would have entitled teh guy to anything. The insurance is liability insurance not accident or medical insurance--you still have to prove liability.
FanTam
RE: Unregistered MudRun participant sues when paralyzed 5/17/2012 12:26PM - in reply to FanTam Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Sorry, just saw that a lot of other people previously made that last point in a much more articulate way.
Mr. Obvious
RE: Unregistered MudRun participant sues when paralyzed 5/17/2012 12:32PM - in reply to FanTam Reply | Return to Index | Report Post

FanTam wrote:
Another point... I am not sure the waiver even matters. I mean, can't you be sued if you own a pool and someone sneaks into your yard and drowns? Even if they are not supposed to be there?


Two points here that may be confused:

1. Yes, you can be sued if somebody sneaks into your pool and drowns. However if you take reasonably prudent steps, such as fencing the pool, posting a sign that says no swimming without permission, etc. then you have reduced exposure.

2. Waivers are a separate issue, governed by state law (both statute and case law). States all allow you to assume risks inherent in activities such as mud run, getting hit on the head by a foul ball, etc. Most states also allow participants to waive ordinary negligence on behalf of the providers of such activities. Virginia is not one of those states. Some states also have statutory "duty of care" standards for some activities, such as skiing--this is a great protection which basically says if the provider meets these conditions than anything else is an inherent risk of the activity.
Mr. Obvious
RE: Unregistered MudRun participant sues when paralyzed 5/17/2012 12:32PM - in reply to FanTam Reply | Return to Index | Report Post

FanTam wrote:
Another point... I am not sure the waiver even matters. I mean, can't you be sued if you own a pool and someone sneaks into your yard and drowns? Even if they are not supposed to be there?


Two points here that may be confused:

1. Yes, you can be sued if somebody sneaks into your pool and drowns. However if you take reasonably prudent steps, such as fencing the pool, posting a sign that says no swimming without permission, etc. then you have reduced exposure.

2. Waivers are a separate issue, governed by state law (both statute and case law). States all allow you to assume risks inherent in activities such as mud run, getting hit on the head by a foul ball, etc. Most states also allow participants to waive ordinary negligence on behalf of the providers of such activities. Virginia is not one of those states. Some states also have statutory "duty of care" standards for some activities, such as skiing--this is a great protection which basically says if the provider meets these conditions than anything else is an inherent risk of the activity.
Old Man Runner
RE: Unregistered MudRun participant sues when paralyzed 5/17/2012 1:14PM - in reply to Mr. Obvious Reply | Return to Index | Report Post

jhrjtyg wrote:

they're saying "that pit was built in an unsafe manner". If the pit was unsafe but he was there illegally, there would still be a problem.



So in 2 years (2010, 2011) there have been about 3,000 people to finish these races and no one else has got hurt. Hard to argue the pit was built in an unsafe manner.
Bill Walker
RE: Unregistered MudRun participant sues when paralyzed 5/17/2012 1:28PM - in reply to Mr. Obvious Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
If you go to the Richmond Times Dispatch website and read the reader comments following the article, you'll get a sense of how the general, non-running public views the plaintiff's claim: not favorably. So, even if the plaintiff survives a motion for summary judgment -- based on his contributory negligence and assumption of risk, he still must convince a jury that the defendants' negligence caused his injury; and, at least based on the reader comments, he will have a very tough sell.

The main learning point for the running community is that, if you or your club/organization are in any way involved in the management of an event, you should ensure that liability insurance is in place. That insurance will provide coverage for any damages awarded and, just as important, will provide legal counsel without charge.
luv2run
RE: Unregistered MudRun participant sues when paralyzed 5/17/2012 1:35PM - in reply to joho Reply | Return to Index | Report Post

joho wrote:



In most cases I don't believe in accidents. Usually someone is at fault. But this does seem to be an accident. It sounds like he fell (or dove perhaps?), into the mud and it was not as deep as expected? Either way, just an accident or his fault. Can't reallly blame the organizers for that.


I spoke with an OSHA investigator years ago and he said there are no accidents. If a person is injured someone is responsible. In this case, it was the runner. (If dozens of others had been hurt, then I could see blaming the RD).

On the above: I asked about lightning strikes. The OSHA guy said something to the effect of: the person should have been aware of weather conditions and taken precautions.
luv2run
RE: Unregistered MudRun participant sues when paralyzed 5/17/2012 1:37PM - in reply to Mr. Obvious Reply | Return to Index | Report Post

Mr. Obvious wrote:


hks321 wrote:

I think he waived the liability of the organizers. Everyone else climbed out of the 3 mud holes without any injury. Shit happens in life. Such a fit 30min-5K athletic should only have himself to sue.


Right, this would certainly be one factor considered by the court, whether the construction of the mud pit was such that it was likely or nearly certain that injuries would occur or whether it is just a possibility due to the nature of the event.


Industry standard: dig a hole, fill with water.
Linsanity
RE: Unregistered MudRun participant sues when paralyzed 5/17/2012 1:58PM - in reply to jhrjtyg Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Take him court.

Have Mike Brady throw his briefcase on the floor. When he turns his head, case closed.
codger
RE: Unregistered MudRun participant sues when paralyzed 5/17/2012 2:11PM - in reply to Old Man Runner Reply | Return to Index | Report Post

Old Man Runner wrote:


jhrjtyg wrote:

they're saying "that pit was built in an unsafe manner". If the pit was unsafe but he was there illegally, there would still be a problem.



So in 2 years (2010, 2011) there have been about 3,000 people to finish these races and no one else has got hurt. Hard to argue the pit was built in an unsafe manner.


Exactly, this is the argument I would proceed with. Where are all the other injured "registered" competitors?
present, esq.
RE: Unregistered MudRun participant sues when paralyzed 5/17/2012 3:15PM - in reply to codger Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
There more I think about this, the more I suspect that this guy's unregistered status would not be allowed in evidence--if this business ever actually came to trial in front of a jury.

If that status did get into the trial, plaintiff could make an argument that the race organizers should have made a reasonable effort to ensure the people wearing numbers were the people who'd actually signed up. (Of course, "industry standard" comes into play here...)

Actually, I agree with previous posters who've suggested that plaintiff might have a good case against the person who gave him her number (did she adequately relay to him the information she had received about the nature of the race, and what the waiver had actually waived?); but of course one of the principles of tort litigation is that you go after the person(s) with deep pockets.

Overall, though, I suspect that plaintiff's unregistered status will probably not be involved--and a judge might keep it out of a trial, to keep from prejudicing a jury.
codger
RE: Unregistered MudRun participant sues when paralyzed 5/17/2012 3:25PM - in reply to present, esq. Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
By taking the "donated" number is there implied consent to the waiver, even though he didn't actually sign one.
way2dangerous
RE: Unregistered MudRun participant sues when paralyzed 5/17/2012 3:43PM - in reply to Mr. Obvious Reply | Return to Index | Report Post

Mr. Obvious wrote:


mudfun wrote:

How does one go about creating a mudpit with "negligence, reckless disregard, and/or gross negligence"? I would like to know how they have determined this.


Under Virginia law:

Simple negligence is the failure to use ordinary care. Gross negligence is action which shows indifference to others, disregarding prudence to the level that the safety of others is completely neglected. Willful and wanton negligence is acting consciously in disregard of another person’s rights or acting with reckless indifference to the consequences, with the defendant aware, from his knowledge of existing circumstances and conditions, that his conduct would probably cause injury to another.

That is case law. In practice a test commonly applied is whether the pit was built to industry standards--which is why I asked if there was a common standard for mud runs, warrior runs, spartan race, etc. Could be relevant in this case.


Take a look at a picture of the pit. http://www.travelblog.org/Photos/4182122

I'd day that is reckless disregard.
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