Yankee Stadium Gets ‘Mother of All Liability Waivers’

by Jason Epstein

Via Bob Sullivan of Red Tape Chronicles, Yankee Stadium has become the first sports facility in the nation to receive the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s “Safety Act” seal of approval, meaning that it will receive considerable immunity from any lawsuits stemming from terrorist incidents.

According to Sullivan: 

Dozens of defense companies have been named to the Safety Act approved list since DHS started handing out the designation in 2004. But Yankees Stadium is the first of what is expected to be many sports venues whose operators will then be immune from standard lawsuits that might be filed by future victims of terrorist attacks. (The National Football League was placed on the Safety Act list in 2008, but the designation was vague and probably only applies to the Super Bowl, experts say.)

Supporters say the Safety Act gives strong incentives for firms to raise their security standards, and encourages innovation. Opponents say it unfairly terminates a basic consumer right, makes people less safe and serves as an under-the-radar version of tort reform. As evidence, opponents point out that the Safety Act framework is being copied for many other legislative initiatives, including the failed effort to pass a comprehensive Cybersecurity Bill this year.

It’s the mother of all liability waivers, says George Washington University law Professor Ellen Zavian, an expert in sports law. . . .

One may be forgiven for wondering how long it will take before the imperious Yankee brass try classifying bleacher brawls involving Red Sox fans and illnesses from a vendor’s undercooked hot dogs as acts of terrorism.

More here. (H/T Craig Calcaterra)

Right Field

Brief chronicles of our sporting times.