You may be up-leveling to the point where you are planning to host your first event at a hotel space, or perhaps, you are a seasoned vet at this. Either way, I was just reviewing a contract with a coach for an event coming up and sharing the three provisions that are in most hotel contracts that are worth you knowing about.

Indemnification explained

Indemnification is where one party tries to have the other pay for liability claims that arise out of the event. In other words, they want you to bear the risk of the injury.

A hypothetical brings this home.

Let’s say Jane is the coach hosting the event at the Fairmont. The Fairmont does not want to be sued by any of Jane’s attendees. So the Fairmont has a clause that says, “Jane, if one of your attendees is hurt, and they sue us, we want YOU TO defend (stand by the Fairmont in saying it is not liable for the injuries and pay for the attorneys who will defend the Fairmont), indemnify (pay for any amounts for the injuries by settlement or judgment) and hold the Fairmont harmless (not try to blame it for the injuries).” Can Jane get the Fairmont to strike that clause? Probably not. Can Jane do anything? Yes.

Here’s a tip!

See if the hotel will add in words or modify the language so that it is clear that indemnity will happen only if the Fairmont is in no way at fault AND that Jane is 100% at fault. And while this is not an impossible situation, ie, one party being solely or no way at fault (there are fewer and fewer absolutes in the law) – it is extremely unlikely. Second tip, Jane should try to get the hotel to indemnify her.

What happens if Jane lets the broad indemnity provision stand? Well, that event release she paid her lawyer to draft for the attendees may be worthless. The attendee who sues the Fairmont for an injury is not going to be precluded by its release in favor of Jane. And now Jane has to step in anyway and defend a claim she thought was released.

Third tip

Get counsel now! It makes no economic sense to invest money, time and effort in putting on an event and then not hire experienced counsel to review the agreement to make sure you are covered. We are trained to look for and proactively solve problems.

If you are getting ready to put on an event, before you sign the contract, have it looked at. You will be glad you did.If you would like to discuss this or any other legal issues further, schedule some time on my calendar for a complimentary session.