Tuesday, January 22, 2008
(Welcome, AboveTheLaw readers.)
I admit to some hesitation in acknowledging watching American Gladiators, which is not by any rational measure a particularly good show. And yet there it sits on our TiVo, and yet we watch it. Such is the mystery of life, no?
But today, I get to tie it in both to my law school and to Torts.
Last night (watch the full episode here) one of the contestants, Jennifer Blum, was identified as a New Jersey lawyer and a professional football player (she plays for the New York Sharks and is their all-time leading scorer). A quick search of our alumni database reveals that she's a 2002 graduate of Western New England College School of Law! Sources vary; I thought they said on the show that she's a criminal defense lawyer, but other sites indicate that she's a civil litigator. Maybe she reads this blog! (Sadly, 2002 was before I joined the faculty, so I don't know her.)
Blum won the competition last night, but her time on the Eliminator was insufficient to get into the final 8 (who have a chance at $100,000 and joining as a gladiator).
So, what did she have to agree to for her appearance? Let's look at the casting process.
In addition to attending one of several open casting calls (or submitting a videotape), applicants have to fill out a form [28-page PDF]. After getting through many questions (e.g., "If you had Aladdin’s lamp and 3 wishes, what would you wish for? (Rule: you can’t wish for money or more wishes)."), a bunch of required disclosures (ever been arrested? sued? in porn?), and extensive IP releases, we get to the waiver section. Some excerpts:
I AM AWARE THAT THE ACTIVITIES IN WHICH I MAY PARTICIPATE IN
CONNECTION WITH THE SERIES (INCLUDING WITHOUT LIMITATION, THE
CONTESTANT SELECTION PROCESS) MAY BE STRENUOUS AND/OR
DANGEROUS PHYSICAL AND/OR MENTAL ACTIVITIES, AND I AM
VOLUNTARILY PARTICIPATING IN THE SERIES AND RELATED ACTIVITIES
WITH FULL KNOWLEDGE, APPRECIATION AND UNDERSTANDING OF THE
DANGERS AND PERSONAL RISKS INVOLVED AND HEREBY AGREE TO
ACCEPT ANY AND ALL RISKS OF PARTICIPATING IN CONTESTANT
SELECTION AND/OR IN THE SERIES, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO,
ILLNESS, SERIOUS PERSONAL INJURY, DEATH AND/OR PROPERTY LOSS.
* * *
I irrevocably authorize Am Glad Productions (“PRODUCER”) to conduct physical and
psychological examinations of me in connection with its selection of contestants in the
Series. I understand and acknowledge that I am solely responsible for determining
whether I am physically and mentally able to participate in the Series, and that the
opinion of medical personnel contracted by Producer to conduct physical and mental
examinations of me regarding my fitness to participate in the Series is not a substitute for
my own judgment or that of my own physician.
* * *
TO THE MAXIMUM EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW, THE RELEASING PARTIES
AND WE HEREBY RELEASE THE RELEASED PARTIES, AND EACH OF THEM,
FROM ANY AND ALL CLAIMS, ACTIONS, DAMAGES, LIABILITIES, LOSSES,
COSTS AND EXPENSES OF ANY KIND (INCLUDING, WITHOUT LIMITATION,
ATTORNEYS’ FEES) ARISING OUT OF, RESULTING FROM, OR BY REASON OF
MY PARTICIPATION ON OR IN CONNECTION WITH THE SERIES, OR MY
APPEARANCE ON THE SERIES, THE FAILURE OF PRODUCER TO SELECT ME
AS A CONTESTANT, THE CANCELLATION OF THE SERIES, OR THE EXERCISE
BY PRODUCER OR ANYONE ELSE OF ANY RIGHTS GRANTED BY ME UNDER
THIS AGREEMENT. THE RELEASED CLAIMS SPECIFICALLY INCLUDE, ANY
CLAIMS, ACTIONS, DAMAGES, LIABILITIES, LOSSES, COSTS AND EXPENSES
OF ANY KIND RESULTING FROM THE ACTIONS OF ANOTHER CONTESTANT
OR ANY OTHER THIRD PARTY AT ANY TIME, OR FROM ANY DEFECT IN OR
FAILURE OF EQUIPMENT, WARNINGS OR INSTRUCTIONS, OR MY
APPLICATION OR PREPARATION FOR, PARTICIPATION OR APPEARANCE IN
OR ELIMINATION FROM THE SERIES, OR ACTIVITIES ASSOCIATED WITH
THE SERIES, WHETHER OCCURRING BEFORE, DURING OR AFTER MY
ACTUAL PARTICIPATION IN THE SERIES, AND WHETHER OR NOT CAUSED
BY OR ARISING OUT OF THE NEGLIGENCE OR GROSS NEGLIGENCE OF ANY
OF THE RELEASED PARTIES.