21 November 2013

A Lesson in Risk Management: Munn v. The Hotchkiss School

This is available to ATTA Members.

If you are a Professional or Business Member with an account login, sign in. Otherwise, you can learn more about Professional and Business Membership.

Sign In / Sign Up

In 2007 then 15 year old Cara Munn, a boarding student at the prestigious Hotchkiss School, took a five week summer trip to China. She claims she contracted serious tick-borne encephalitis while there on a hike, was rendered permanently unable to speak and permanently lost small motor skills. A few months ago a Connecticut jury returned a verdict in her favor for $41.7 million USD. The case raises enormous issues about the type of release that could have been created that could have changed the outcome of the lawsuit, the obligations of tour operators to prevent against diseases such as tick-borne encephalitis that no American had ever contracted in China, and the desirability of, at least in some US States, eliminating the possibility of jury verdicts altogether by putting an arbitration clause in the tour participant contract. All of these issues are of significant importance to every member of the tour industry, but particularly important to those who engage in any kind of adventure travel, hiking, rafting, trekking, horseback riding, etc. Attend this webinar to better understand the current US legal climate, and how you can protect yourselves against similar issues.

  • Learn what points in a release will survive judicial scrutiny and which likely will not.
  • Examine the scope of duties of tour operators to warn about diseases or other hazards of which neither they nor their local groundhandler have ever heard.
  • Discuss the ways these duties are enhanced if the trip involves adventure travel of even a limited nature.
  • Discuss the merits of arbitration versus litigation.
  • Examine the unique problems in having minors (under age 18) on the tour.