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OFEA – Lessons Learned from A Lawsuit

Law suits may happen.  It is important to plan ahead and work to evaluate the risks involved in your event.  Taking time to access the risk may save your festival money in the long run and prevent a potential accident.

Be aware though that assessing the risk, will not prevent someone from suing you.  Proper assessment and planning may reduce your liability or allow your removal from a lawsuit.   The key is DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT.

How to Document:

  • Photos
  • Videos
  • Written Documentation
    • Recommend scanning paper documentation that can be stored in a digital format


Track your incidents year over year to determine if there is a risk within your festival grounds. 

  • Top risks for the Troy Strawberry Festival
    • Heat exhaustion
    • Falls

If your local EMS is responding to calls be sure to work with them so that you have proper documentation.  Our local EMS provides a report after the festival with the following information:  Type of Call, Number of Calls



  • Be aware of what your insurance will and won't cover
  • Are you adding others as additional insured?
  • Do all of your vendors have the proper insurance?
  • Are all your pre or post festival events covered?
    • Is your parade covered?


Consider having a risk management professional on your committee.  

  • Not sure where to find a risk management professional?  Contact your local Safety council.


Additional discussion points/questions from attendees: 

  • Throwing candy at parades - there is not an Ohio law stating that you cannot throw candy during a parade.   It is up to each festival or community to determine what works best for them.
  • Waivers - waivers can be helpful and provide a level of documentation, but be aware they will NOT keep someone from suing your festival.   It is always a good idea to have an attorney review the waiver.




Contact Information: 

Kathi Roetter


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