Law & Liability Topics

Addressing Those “Uh-oh” Situations in Your Contracts

Duration: 75-120 minutes

Audience: Planners

Level: Intermediate & Advanced


Everything is going along swimmingly with your meeting until, “uh-oh,” something you didn’t anticipate threatens to disrupt or derail it.  Using scenarios that address real issues like construction and remodeling, dishonored reservations, conflicting groups, drone photography, and more, we’ll discuss what you should have in your contracts to prevent the issue from occurring or mitigate the damage if it does occur.  Groups will have a chance to review scenarios and discuss in small groups before sharing solutions.

Learning objectives:

  • Develop clauses to help address the myriad of “uh-oh’s” that might blindside you.

  • Help the hotel help you in terms of determining what kinds of groups might be conflicting and what to do about it if they are booked over your dates.

  • Determine how new technologies may need to be addressed in your contracts.

Bite Me!  The Law of Food & Beverage

Duration: 60-75 minutes

Audience: Planners & Suppliers

Level: Intermediate & Advanced


Good or bad, people remember the food at events.  As any planner or food provider knows, though, food and beverage is a risky area.  Beyond keeping hot food hot and cold food cold, there are issues of dietary restrictions, food allergies, alcohol service, performance, food donation, and more.  In this session, we discuss the legalities behind food and beverage service.  From contract language that every planner should include in catering contracts to leveraging the law to get restaurants, caterers, and hotels to donate food, this is the law of food.


Learning objectives:

  •  Define service standards that will not only improve the quality of service, but reduce the risk of liability.

  • Evaluate due diligence when dealing with ADA issues, including food allergies.

  • Clarify the responsibilities and opportunities under the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act.

Understanding Difficult Contract Clauses – the Big Three

Duration: 75-90 minutes

Audience: Planners & Suppliers

Level: Intermediate & Advanced


Performance clauses like attrition and cancellation are challenging to negotiate and sometimes expensive to exercise.  Force majeure is the very definition of a “grey area.”  Using provided scenarios as well as examples from the audience, we’ll talk about the law that supports (and doesn’t support) common contract language and minor changes in wording that can yield huge dividends in protection. 


Learning objectives:

  • Evaluate attrition clauses to ensure you are getting credit for all you should be, and that you aren’t paying more than the hotel is legally entitled to in attrition fees.

  • Apply the principle of mitigation to performance clauses and understand why it is fine to ask for something you may not be legally entitled to.

  • Modify force majeure clauses with a time element to allow adequate opportunity to relocate a meeting if necessary.


Understanding Difficult Contract Clauses – the “Other” Clauses

Duration: 60-75 minutes

Audience: Planners & Suppliers

Level: Intermediate & Advanced


Although performance clauses like attrition and cancellation are challenging, it is sometimes the other clauses that create the biggest challenges.  And beware to the group that overlooks them!  Addressing issues like construction and remodeling, conflicting in-house groups, surcharges and fees, environmental issues and more, this session will help prepare you for trends that are affecting meetings and, by extension, meeting contracts. 


Learning objectives

  • Know what to ask for and how to deal with pending construction and remodeling that may not have been on the radar at the time of contracting.

  • Assess the effects of the current environment on contract negotiations—including everything from drone photography to the latest surcharges and fees being levied by hotels.

  • Learn how to address in the contract the environmental and altruistic issues of concern to the meeting organizer and its attendees.


[Note: The two presentations above can be combined into one 60-90 minute session. The shorter combined session will cover fewer topics and not quite as deeply, but has still been well received by audiences.]


The Law of Doing Good Things

Duration: 60-90 minutes

Audience: Planners & Suppliers

Level: Intermediate & Advanced


In our litigious society, anyone can get sued for doing anything—even good things!  In this unique and informative session, participants will consider scenarios that highlight the liability issues associated with integrating social responsibility into the meetings industry.  Discuss the parameters of the food donation laws.  Explore the realities and myths of Good Samaritan laws—and find out about the less-well-known “bad Samaritan” laws.  Find out who is really protected under the Volunteer Protection Act.  You can and should do good things…but you should also protect yourself and your organization. 


Learning objectives:

  • Develop effective food donation policies and programs.

  • Communicate the limitations on personal risk to potential volunteers.

The Lawyer is (Real) In

Duration: 60 minutes

Audience: Planners and Suppliers

Level: Intermediate & Advanced


Have a legal question about meetings or events?  Like Lucy in the Peanuts, the lawyer is (real) in!  This session is all about you and the legal issues you have always wanted to ask about but that never seem to be brought up in legal sessions.  A completely interactive session, attendees will be given a list of possible legal issues to discuss in small groups—contract issues, Americans with Disabilities Act, alcohol liability, etc.  Each group will come up with three questions to ask, from the list or from their experience.  It’s like getting free legal advice on real issues (only with a waiver that no client privilege attaches to our discussions).


  • Discuss current real-world legal issues from the perspectives of planners, suppliers, and a lawyer.

  • Apply legal analysis to legal issues such as negligence liability or indemnification.

  • Explain legal issues to decision-makers using the law behind the issue to back you up.