Why I won’t attend the NH Liberty Forum

I would have liked to register for the New Hampshire Liberty Forum this coming February. They always have interesting speakers, and I run into people I haven’t seen in a long time. Unfortunately, the Free State Project, which is organizing the event, has made it an unreasonable choice to take. They require all attendees to waive all claims of liability against FSP, even if its negligence kills people.

The terms and conditions for registration say:

I acknowledge and fully understand that as an attendee of the Event, I will be engaging in activities that involve risk of serious injury, including permanent disability, death, property loss, and/or severe social and/or economic losses. Some of these risks include, but are not limited to, those caused by: (a) the actions, inactions, or negligence of the organizers of Liberty Forum, i.e., Free State Project, Inc. and its officers, directors, employees, agents, representatives, volunteers, contractors, and/or affiliates (collectively, the “FSP”) and/or attendees of the Event, whether or not such attendees are in any way associated with the Event …

I KNOWINGLY AND VOLUNTARILY ASSUME ALL RISK OF PROPERTY LOSS, PERSONAL INJURY, SERIOUS INJURY, OR DEATH, WHICH MAY OCCUR BY ATTENDING THE EVENT, AND HEREBY FOREVER RELEASE, DISCHARGE, AND HOLD THE FSP HARMLESS FROM ANY CLAIM ARISING FROM SUCH RISK, EVEN IF ARISING FROM THE NEGLIGENCE OF THE FSP, OR FROM THIRD PARTIES, AND I ASSUME FULL RESPONSIBILITY AND LIABILITY FOR MY PARTICIPATION AND/OR ATTENDANCE. …

I, on behalf of myself, my heirs, executors, administrators and assigns, hereby waive, release, discharge, and agree not to sue the FSP, its officers, directors, members, employees, volunteers, representatives, agents, contractors and subcontractors, and other participants, sponsors, affiliates, and if applicable, owners and lessors of equipment, art installations and premises used to conduct the Event or related activities (collectively the “Releasees”), from any and all claims for damages, injuries, losses, liabilities and expenses that I may have or that may subsequently accrue to me, relating to, resulting from or arising out of my use and/or participation in the Event, including any programs, events, art installations or activities at the Event, and including any injury or damage to my person or property, or to that of any other person or property.

This is a convention in a hotel. I don’t know what “activities that involve risk of death” they’re talking about, beyond the hypothetical risk that just getting out of bed carries. It’s annoying to have to get liability insurance, but it’s not that expensive. I’ve run a convention myself that got insurance. Apparently FSP couldn’t or didn’t want to.

Granting a waiver of liability for serious injury and death through negligence is a very unusual contract term, yet FSP did nothing to call attention to it in the registration form. There’s just a checkbox with a link to the terms. Most people will agree to anything without reading the terms, and it looks very much as if FSP is counting on that.

I can choose only for myself, and I won’t attend a convention where I have to absolve the organizer of liability for killing me.

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One Response to “Why I won’t attend the NH Liberty Forum”

  1. Matt Philips Says:

    Gary,

    I’m the president of the FSP. These T&Cs were originally developed for PorcFest, which is a very different event with much less control over the activities occuring on site (and in turn were loosely based on the T&Cs of Burning Man, which is again a very different event, where there really is not only a risk of but a history of serious injury and death). We probably could have toned it down for LF, which as you note is in (only a small part of) a major, modern hotel. Liability insurance is not unlimited, and neither are our resources. In any event, we’re certainly not intending any NAP violations. I hope you will reconsider.

    In liberty,
    Matt


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