Webinar: DZ liability during Covid-19

Friday, May 22, 2020

On May 20, 2020, DropZone Marketing hosted industry attorney, Robert Feldman for a discussion regarding potential liabilities while operating during COVID-19. Many thanks to Robert Feldman for sharing his opinions and to Burble Software for sponsoring.

The opinions, information, content and materials provided, available or expressed in this webinar is opinion only and is provided for general informational purposes only.  None constitutes, nor should it be construed to constitute legal advice for any particular situation, in any particular state or legal jurisdiction.  Any or all such opinions, information, content and materials may not constitute accurate or up-to-date legal or other information.  In any situation in which a legal question exists, you should seek competent legal advice from an attorney licensed to practice law in the relevant jurisdiction, who is familiar with aviation law, skydiving law and the law applicable to your situation.

IRS Circular 230 Disclosure.  To ensure compliance with requirements imposed by the IRS, we inform you that any U.S. federal tax advice contained in the opinions, information, content and materials provided, available or expressed in this webinar is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code, or (ii) promoting, marketing, or recommending to another party any transaction or matter that is contained in this webinar.

Subject Matter Time Stamps

00:01 – Legal Disclaimer

02:00 – Should We Adjust Our Waiver?

07:05 – Is adding specific language about COVID-19 to a waiver that covers all risks create a slippery slope for more liability?

09:30 – If you were to single out the three most important items to be included on a COVID-19 waiver, what would they be and why?

13:15 – If this is to be our new normal, rather than have a separate waiver addendum, why not add a clause for influenza to our waivers to cover all diseases?

15:42 – What should be done if a staff member tests positive for COVID-19, are there legal ramifications for the dropzone as the employer? Furthermore is the dropzone now the party responsible for contact tracing and informing all who have come into contact with the aforementioned COVID-19 positive staff member?

21:15 – If we say we are going to do everything we can to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, but someone sees us falling short, does this open us up to more liability issues?

25:14 – Once the pandemic is over would it be a good idea to keep language about the spread of the disease in the waiver?

27:30 – With regard to the separate COVID-19 waiver, many dropzones publish their waivers online for customers to complete before arriving at the dropzone. Can we publish the second waiver online, ahead of time?

30:51 – You don’t advise that any dropzone say, “we’re doing all we can to mitigate risk.” What language would you suggest the DZ use?

32:02 – Some dropzones are concerned that some of their staff are working on the front lines in the medical field and are also concerned about older people who are most vulnerable to catching COVID-19 – if a dropzone were to ask these individuals to not come to the dropzone, do they open themselves up for liability with regard to discrimination?

36:40 – Do you see liability for the dropzone if a tandem instructor contracts COVID-19? If so, do you think the liability changes if you treat your tandem instructors as 1099 contractors or W-2 employees?

40:11 – Skydive OC’s DZO, Jeanice Dolan asked to weigh in on the topic of employee classification and liability.

41:21 – Attorney Paul Doolittle weighs in on the topic.

47:42 – Is it your opinion that staff, regardless of classification, should complete the COVID-19 waiver every time they come to the dropzone?

51:07 –  Question from Larry Liebler, Skydive Orange: What is our ethical obligation for contact tracing? Should we follow-up if a staff member contracts COVID; how far down the chain should we go with contacting customers?

53:58 – If someone drops at the dropzone and a week later they call the dropzone to say they’ve been exposed and was at the dropzone the prior week, are you suggesting the dropzone only raise an alert with a state or county official?

56:44 – If someone alerts the dropzone that they have been exposed or have contracted COVID-19, is the dropzone able to reveal the individual’s name due to HIPPA?

59:19 – I’m in the process of adding a COVID-19 questionnaire to Burble, is this a good or bad idea?

1:00:11 – Tom Noonan from UPT weighs in.

1:01:08 – (to Tom Noonan) Is UPT making any edits to their waiver?

1:02:50 – Is UPT making any recommendations on how best to sanitize tandem harnesses?

1:07:05 – Clarification.. are you saying that everyone including staff needs to complete a COVID-19 waiver everyday?

1:08:05 – Attorney Paul Doolittle weighs in on the question above.

1:09:09 – Skydive Carolina requiring all staff and guests to check-in each day and be issued a wrist band.

1:10:25 – If someone on the front line is using PPE and fills out a medical questionnaire, do they affirm they’ve been exposed to the virus if they’re wearing PPE? What defines exposure?

1:11:30 – Skydive City’s, Susan Stark asked to weigh in with her thoughts.

1:12:32 – What is the panel’s thoughts on dropzones operating despite local authorities mandate that all non-essential businesses remain closed? Is there negligence on the DZ’s part should someone contract COVID-19?

1:14:40 – Wouldn’t it be hard to bring a case against the dropzone for someone to say that the DZ was the source for infection when we can’t trace their origination?

1:18:26 – Laura Morris says their DZ attorney would like for them to use Smartwaiver with the photo capture feature to try and get customers to complete the waiver online. Is this a good idea?

1:19:49 – Is it a good idea to allow customers to watch the UPT waiver prior to coming to the DZ?

1:26:21 – We have added a checkbox to Burble for guests to acknowledge that they have read the waiver and watched the UPT training video, does this help mitigate the risk with Smartwaiver?

1:31:15 – Robert if someone wants to get a hold of you, what would be the best way for them to get in touch?

Robert: 305-598-4841

1:32:52 – Tom Noonan closing thoughts.

1:34:58 – Attorney, Paul Doolittle closing thoughts.

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