If my company sponsors an athletic facility, can we be sued by a participant at that facility who is injured?

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If my company sponsors an athletic facility, can we be sued by a participant at that facility who is injured?

My company has the opportunity to sponsor an athletic facility in our community. Our company name will appear at the facility on a list of sponsors. One of my board members states that we could then be sued by someone who is participating in activities at that facility simply because our name is on the sponsor board. She further states that her father was told by an attorney to not participate in such activities.

Asked on January 19, 2012 under Personal Injury, Georgia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

There is no always right answer, since the specifics of the situation (the sponsorhip, the sponsored activity or facility, the alleged cause of action, etc.) are critical to determining potential liability.

That said, as a general matter, liability depends on fault. Fault, to a large degree, depends on control, or at least opportunity for control. If your company provides financial support but has no say over what is done with it--and in particular, if you are but one of a number of sponors, and not even the largest, which reduces your potential for influence or control--you would not seem to be exposed to liability in most situations.  Mere financial  support, without more, does not create liability, else everyone who donates to a charity would be at risk.

As the actual or potential control of the sponsor increases, whether because the sponsor has a say over how money is used, participates in making decisions, or is such a key funding source that control can be imputed to it, the potential for liability increases.

 


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