The Des Moines Register & Iowa City Press-Citizen turned to Goldberg Segalla’s Jonathan S. Ziss for expert analysis of a “pledge” signed by student athletes who returned to the campus for voluntary workouts this summer, amid the worsening effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S.
“It’s sort of an assumption of risk. ‘You know that this problem exists. We want you to acknowledge that this problem exists. Not just for our benefit, but for your own benefit, so that you’re going into this with your eyes open, that there’s an unavoidable risk,’” Jonathan explained to the paper.
“It’s treating their student body with respect and with this sense that they’re mature enough to take ownership and responsibility for behaving right. It’s not a risk-shifting mechanism, at least not overtly like the Trump rally,” he said, referring to the infamous liability waiver that the Trump campaign presented to all attendees of a recent rally on June 20, 2020 in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Jonathan pointed out that Iowa’s form includes the word “expectations” and not “regulations” or “prohibitions”—a noteworthy distinction, he explained. Other businesses, from barbershops to gyms, are developing similar documents, he said.
“We’re seeing this more and more as the government and institutions struggle to put in place the goals of returning to some sort of functionality and also providing protection for the institutions,” Jonathan said.
Iowa’s leading newspaper sought insight from Jonathan following the release and wide circulation of a groundbreaking white paper on COVID-19 liability waivers produced by Goldberg Segalla’s COVID-19 Task Force.
Jonathan is a partner based in Philadelphia and chair of the firm’s Management and Professional Liability practice.
“At Iowa, COVID-19 ‘Pledge’ Signed by Athletes Was Not a Waiver of Legal Rights, Experts Say,” Des Moines Register & Iowa City Press-Citizen, July 14, 2020