Forum: Questions And Answers About Geocaching
started by: mikechim
Posted by mikechim on Dec. 17 2001,1:21 amTime to play advocate.
My brother's starting a sports bike club, today he came home concerned about possible lawsuits. An individual who runs a paintball club had warned him about the possibility of being sued by an injured party and that he should have some sort of waiver made up. I could understand if it was on a ride his group set up, often times when you go out group sponsored outings you have to sign a waiver. However, this individual (I have no idea of his credintials) claimed that just having the info on the web could constitute a lawsuit. Here's the question if someone gets hurt going after I cache could the cache owner be sued. This isn't the first time I've thought about it, since my WA cache is rather dangerous (it's a favorite rock climbing area, unfortunately some kid died there a few years ago)
Logic says no, your not guiding them there, its not a group outing, etc. You just place it if they want to get it that's their agenda. However, does anyone know the law on this. Do the sights have disclaimers posted? I'm not really concerned just curious, if it's a possiblity maybe I'll start putting a little disclaimer on them. So anyone know the law well enough to comment?
Posted by YardBoy on Dec. 17 2001,9:04 amBeen there, thought about that! Here's a newsletter submission I sent to NaviCache on 9/4/01:
***** START COPY *****
Is there a lawyer in the house?!
By posting and leading others to our NaviCaches, do we incur liability? Are Disclaimers needed? I never thought about personal injury while NaviCaching until I tried “Gimpy’s Walk”, or as I called it: “Gimpy's Climb, Slip, Cramp, Re-climb & Palpitate!”. If you haven’t seen the picture of me at < Gimpy's Gallery >, it’s not pretty when I’m panting on the verge of a heart attack.
I’ve since found & just received permission to use a Disclaimer from a fellow cacher by the nickname of Sewardvanlee: “You are under no obligation to hunt my cache. You do so at your own risk. Like any outdoor sport, it carries the risk of unforeseen hazards. Use your best judgment with the environment and conditions. As conditions and cache locations may vary, it is the responsibility of the searcher to be familiar with the conditions in the area to be searched, to adequately prepare for those conditions, and to conduct oneself safely and responsibly and remain within his or her personal abilities and limitations. Children should be well supervised. When and if you find a cache, you are under no obligation to touch it, reach it, climb to it, dig for it, pick it up, or even open it. Open it at your own risk. If food or drink is present, do not consume it, throw it out. Individual Geostash and GPS cache sponsors assume no liability for events, which may occur, related directly or indirectly to your searching for a stash.”
Sewardvanlee went on to give me a Disclaimer of his Disclaimer: "My disclaimer is just a jumble of words, and has no magical powers for covering your tuckus from humanity."
Well, my obsessive/compulsive seekers of hidden treasure, will you be including a Disclaimer when you post your next NaviCache? My upcoming NewsLetter will hopefully report on other content ideas for your NaviCache postings.
YardBoy (but I’m not coming over to do YOUR gardening)
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Posted by PC Medic on Dec. 17 2001,3:29 pmThe last time this issue came up I actually asked a local attorrney about this. His initial response was "This is America, you can be sued for for anything, but winning is a different story".
He then proceeded on a more serious note to say that while laws vary from state to state, the risk of being sued as a listing site owner would be very remote. The example he used would be that it would be like a driver suing AAA because they were involved in an accident on a road that was part of their trip ticket.
Again with cache owners, while liability laws may vary from state to state, He said it was unlikely that anyone would ever win a suit of that nature unless the cache owner exercised a total disregard for personal safety and led others into obvious danger. Even then he said, it would be unlikely any jury would award a claim.
Posted by Quinn on Dec. 17 2001,5:02 pmI agree with PC_Medic that I do not think anyone would have any right to a claim as a result of a lawsuit. BUT! even the fact that someone would try to take another peson to court can in fact be very very costly in legal fee's even if you were 100% in the right and knew you would win. The cost of a lawyer to defend yourself would be in the hundreds of dollars alone. For this reason I have looked over the disclaimer that Yardboy has provided and will try to get this Implamented in sort on each cache page that is submitted. This way when a person visits a cache page it will ask to read the disclaimer first showing that the cache owner is in no way asking, telling, etc another person to go look for said cache. And that in deciding to do so the cacher has taken it on his/her own to know what is safe and not safe to do.
Posted by dgridley on Dec. 17 2001,5:44 pmThis whole subject is something I talked about to Quinn a long time ago and comes under the legal heading of "attractive nuisance".. yes, you can most definitely be sued. Can the case be won in court? That depends on local laws and precedent.
The listing of the cache constitutes an invitation to actively search for the cache. If you fail to advise the persons involved of any potential hazards or pitfalls, then you could be sued in the event of a mishap. However, if it can proved in court that the person searching for the cache had fore- knowledge that there might be danger in the search and acquisition, their case for suit weakens. Fore-knowledge, of course, can be nothing more than "common sense".. if the average person wouldn't have "stuck his hand in a dark hole and thereby risk a bite from a snake" kind of thing.
Overall, I don't think the person posting the cache would have as much legal responsibility as someone "listing" the cache. But then, courts don't generally feel that servers acting as newsgroup archives are culpable where illegal pornography is posted and served, so it's anybody's guess.
My head hurts.. I wish the voices would stop!