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Amusement Law: Legal Learning at WWA and IAAPA


By Chad Emerson

Attending these events often means learning the latest on new court cases, ordinances, and administrative regulations that affect the industry.

Two programs that I’ve found especially useful in terms of legal sessions are the annual World Waterpark Association (WWA) meeting and IAAPA’s yearly expo and workshop.  Sessions cover the gamut of issues, from preventive plans to post-incident strategies.  The following are my recommendations.

WWA Convention Oct 26-30, Las Vegas

The WWA 28th Annual Symposium & Trade Show will be held at the MGM Grand on the Las Vegas Strip. I recommend the following five sessions for those attendees interested in law and regulatory matters:

•    Monday, October 27th at 3:45pm:  Several industry veterans join together to discuss the impact of the Virginia Graeme Baker Act on pool and spa safety.  The session will explore how the 2007 federal law operates and how it uses incentives to encourage states to adopt certain pool safety regulations.

•    Tuesday, October 28th at 8:30am:  Long-time industry insurance veteran Kent Sanders and attorney Hilary High discuss post-accident risk management strategies, including post-incident investigation methods.

•    Tuesday, October 28th at 8:30am:  This new session is geared toward “predator prevention practices”.  The session offers attendees the opportunity to learn the latest screening and human resource strategies aimed toward reducing risks that arise from unsafe employee and guest activities at amusement facilities

•    Wednesday, October 29th at 8:30am:  An experienced panel gathers to discuss governmental relations and other regulatory matters faced on the state and local levels by waterpark operators and manufacturers.

•    Wednesday, October 29th at 9:45am:  Industry vet Tommy Woog heads a new session that focuses on local land use matters which arise in the operation of waterparks.  With an emphasis on zoning regs, building codes, and other ordinances, the session well explore a lesser known area that can end up causing major problems.  As a side note:  I was originally scheduled to participate in the session.  Unfortunately, a conflict arose, but in my conversations with Tommy, it sounds like they have a great session planned.

IAAPA Attractions Expo Nov 17-21 in Orlando

The International Association of Amusement Parks & Attractions Annual Expo returns to Orlando this year.  Easily the industry’s largest and most diverse offering of educational sessions, the IAAPA event always features legal and regulatory topics at several scheduled events.  This year is certainly no exception with the conference providing one of the deepest law-related rosters yet.  I recommend the following five sessions:

•    Wednesday, November 19th at 10am:  Randy McMahon, an executive at the Disneyland Resort in California, heads a session focusing on the “Facts of Life” related to loss prevention in the operation of an amusement facility. 

•    Thursday, November 20th at 11:30am:  Since I’ve been attending IAAPA, one of the annual highlights is the Legal and Legislative Roundtable.  Where else can you find leading attorneys, regulators, and risk management specialists sharing ideas and experiences that they’ve recently faced within the amusement industry.

•    Thursday, November 20th at 1:30pm:  IALDA convenes its first of several panels—this one focusing on administrative and legal issues concerning accessibility laws.

•    Thursday, November 20th at 3pm:  Together with other industry leaders, IALDA attorneys will participate in a two-part session on “techniques and tactics” for avoiding legal and legislative problems.

•    Thursday, November 20th at 4:30pm:  I’m excited to announce that I’ll be joining Lee Cockerell, retired Executive Vice President for Operations at Walt Disney World, in a new session focused on developing and implementing strong leadership in crisis situations.  In his first ever IAAPA appearance, Lee will draw on his years of operations experience to provide practical advice on how to prepare for, and succeed through, natural disasters, violent acts, and other operational challenges.

As you can see, if you’re looking for the latest regarding legal and regulatory issues facing the amusement industry, both WWA and IAAPA offer extremely useful sessions this year – so much so, that the above recommendations hardly represent all of the legal options available. But, since most attendees find their visits jam-packed with events, if you can spare the time for just one or two of these sessions, I think you’ll find it extremely valuable for your company. Hope to see you there!

See alsoChad chats with Cindy Gordon as she moves on from Universal Orlando

Amusement Law : How IALDA Serves the Amusement Park Industry, Legally Speaking

Halloween Risk Management for Amusement Parks: Curbing the Scary Specter of Legal Liability

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