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Obstacle Course Race Company Needed an Insurance Lawyer

This case is a cautionary tale about what happens when a race director doesn't have an insurance and contract lawyer look over their documents.

New Bill Increases Penalty for Child Trafficking in Connecticut

More than 130 children have been forced into sexual slavery in Connecticut in the last five years and the Connecticut legislator is doing something about it.

UConn Law Professor Speaks to Congress on Cybersecurity

While many lobby to limit the duty to disclose consumer data breaches, Dr. David Thaw warns against rewarding companies for bad investigations and eroding consumer protection.

Appeal from Second Circuit Striking Down Town Prayer

Congress has been opening with prayer since before the revolution, but in Town of Greece v. Galloway, the practice began in 1999 and may have been intended to favor one religion.

New Connecticut Law Limits Immigrants Turned over to ICE

This controversial new policy means that Connecticut authorities will only honor ICE detention requests for immigrants on terrorist watch lists, felons or those who meet other safety risks.

Law is a Personal Profession

Life has become less personal, but Law remains a personal profession and anyone can put themselves on the short list for a job by skipping email and applying in person.

How to Study in Your Car - Redeeming the Time

Whether you're driving or folding laundry, you can get ahead by listening to the right audiobooks and lectures. This article reviews of the best audio resources and explains how to get them.


Sunday, November 5, 2017

Obstacle Course Race Company Needed an Insurance Lawyer

This case is a cautionary tale about what happens when a race director doesn't have an insurance and contract lawyer look over their documents. Since this is a case about Obstacle Course Racing and Insurance law, it pretty much has my name written all over it. So that's why I offered to write this article, which was first published at SDV Law. This version has been updated a little because my readers here generally know a little bit more about OCR and there's no one here to edit out my bad jokes.

Me - running an obstacle course race in the rain
and wondering how anyone could ever get hurt
doing this.
With the rise in popularity of obstacle course racing, millions have participated in races like Spartan Race, Rugged Maniac, Tough Mudder, and Warrior Dash in the last ten years. Although serious injuries are rare relative to the number of participants, several notable incidents, including the collapse of the Warrior Dash obstacle “Diesel Dome” in October 2016 which resultedin the indictment of five individuals, have caused race companies and participants to question whether their insurance will cover injuries sustained during one of these extreme competitions. Insurance issues have become even more prevalent as smaller race brands and even local farms have started getting into the obstacle course racing business.

Such was the case in Maxum Indemnity Co. v. Dirty Foot Mud Ranch, LLC. In Dirty Foot, a small race company sought defense and indemnity from its general liability insurer after a race participant sued for an injury sustained during one of its events. 

Friday, October 27, 2017

Help! I Have My First Case and I Don't Know What to Do!

It can be a bit jarring when a legal intern or new lawyer gets his or her first assignment.  You have a lot of law in your head, but what do you do with it?  You could be first in your class, but you won't have a clue where to file a motion.  If you've studied the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, you may be saddened to learn that your state's rules more resemble the Lord of the Flies than a well ordered system.

Despite all the uproar about law school not being practical, it does not take a law student very long to get her bearings and begin to function in the real world. Provided that you have a functioning brain, you will be fine with a little guidance. The following is a quick list of tools you need to practice law in Connecticut, but the principles apply just about everywhere:

 1. A Phone

No one knows everything. The best way to find something out is usually to ask a human being who does.  Your trial advocacy or moor court professor are good places to start if you do not know any other practitioners.  My first case ever was an appeal and the first thing I did was grab my phone and email my moot court adjunct professor.  That probably saved me a few days of fumbling around. People like to help if they can do it quickly and it feels good to be tapped as an expert - so ask someone in the know.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

New York Court of Appeals Finds a Proximate Cause Standard in Additional Insured Endorsements

Originally published on

Image result for ny court of appeals
In The Burlington Insurance Company v. NYC Transit Authority, et al., No. 2016-00096, the New York Court of Appeals issued a landmark decision with regard to the meaning of “caused, in whole or in part, by” in the additional insured context. In a split decision, the court rejected Burlington Insurance Company’s (Burlington) argument that the language implied a “negligence” standard, but held that coverage was provided to the additional insured only where the named insured’s acts or omissions were the proximate cause of the injury.

The underlying loss occurred when the additional insured, the New York City Transit Authority (NYCTA), failed to mark a buried electrical cable on a subway project. An employee of the named insured, a subcontractor on the project, drove an excavator into the buried energized cable causing an explosion which, in turn, caused a NYCTA employee to fall from an elevated work platform and sustain injury. The court in underlying action found that the named insured was not negligent.

The Appellate Division found in favor of coverage, citing several First Department decisions which held that the older “arising out of” endorsement language and the newer “caused, in whole or in part, by” language did not differ materially in application. The Appellate Division also noted that under the plain meaning of “caused,” the named insured was at least a partial cause of the loss, despite not being at fault. The New York Court of Appeals agreed to hear Burlington’s appeal as there was no authority on this subject from New York’s highest court.