Club Insider

About Paul R. Bedard, Esquire

Paul R. Bedard, EsquirePaul R. Bedard, Esquire

Paul R. Bedard, Esquire, has nearly twenty years of management, leadership and operations experience in the health and fitness industry. As a practicing attorney, Paul's health and fitness industry experience provides him with a unique perspective when advising health clubs regarding employee training, handbooks, policies, contracts, disputes or premises liability claims. When not practicing law or spending quality time with his wife and daughters, Paul strives to be active in his local community. Paul has served as the Assistant Town Attorney for the Town of Southington, Connecticut. He has also served on the Southington Zoning Board of Appeals and the Board of the Central Connecticut Regional Planning Agency. Paul is a solo practitioner at The Law Office of Paul Bedard, LLC, in Southington, Connecticut.

Phone: (860) 414 - 0110
Email: AttorneyPaulBedard@gmail.com


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Qualities of Effective Counsel
May 2018 - "This article is intended for educational purposes only. It is not intended as legal advice. Widely varying laws specific to each jurisdiction prohibit one-size-fits-all recommendations. Please consider these comments as an educational guide to assist you when you consult your own attorney for specific direction." If you have read my previous Club Insider articles, you have repeatedly read the last four sentences. Yet, what qualities should you look for in an attorney to ensure that you engage truly effective counsel? Read Article...

Respondeat Superior and Vicarious Liability for Employee Conduct
September 2019 - There are many circumstances that may result in an employer being vicariously liable for its employee's conduct. Public policy dictates that, under certain circumstances, the party who suffers harm should be able to obtain redress from the enterprise that benefits from the employee or agent who inflicted the harm. Public policy aims to minimize the recurrence of the conduct at issue while also providing victims an increased ability to obtain compensation when attempting to be made whole from a legal standpoint. Read Article...

Risk Management
How to Minimize Your Legal Exposure to Slip and Fall Claims

February 2017 - It's no secret that these are competitive times for the health and fitness club industry. Given the effort required to generate increased revenues, it can be challenging to find time to develop a sound risk management strategy. However, whether training your people to effectively respond to a medical emergency, designing your employment practices to minimize the likelihood of an employment dispute or methodically inspecting and maintaining your premises to mitigate your exposure to premises liability claims, you must be proactive from a risk management standpoint. Read Article...

Risk Management
How to Minimize Your Potential Legal Exposure to Employment Disputes

March 2017 - Employment lawsuits, including claims of discrimination, sexual harassment and wrongful termination, are among the most common lawsuits filed against companies in the United States. According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), nearly 75% of all litigation against corporations involves employment disputes. It has also been reported that the median judgment resulting from an EEOC charge is approximately $200,000 and that the average duration of an employment claim is 275 days. Read Article...

Risk Management
Minimize the Likelihood of Medical Emergencies and Mitigate Your Responsive Liability

April 2017 - Most health club owners and operators rightfully find themselves contemplating the inevitable medical emergency. It has been reported that more than 10,000 people are treated in emergency rooms daily for injuries stemming from exercise, sports and recreation. Many suffer injuries while using exercise equipment, with treadmills being involved in a significant percentage of these incidents. More than 250,000 Americans die annually due to sudden cardiac arrest, with a significant number of these cardiac events transpiring within health clubs. Although certain types of medical emergencies are beyond anyone's control, consistent operational practices guided by a targeted risk management strategy can reduce the likelihood of others. Read Article...

Telephone Consumer Protection Act Case Update
November 2018 - In July's issue of Club Insider, I provided some information and suggestions aimed at helping club owners and operators to maintain compliance with the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and to avoid the recent explosion of TCPA lawsuits. As I reported in July, the frequency of TCPA lawsuits has increased 1,298% between 2010 and 2016! Given this surge of litigation, and the potentially crippling financial repercussions, staying abreast of TCPA legal developments and maintaining compliance in this regard is essential. Read Article...

The Components of an Enforceable Clickwrap Agreement
October 2018 - Health clubs began the switch from paper to digital agreements and waivers many years ago. Whether a member or guest signs a document via pen, stylus or keyboard, the same legal principles apply. Therefore, a court will apply traditional principles of contract law when determining enforceability. Yet, the legality of digital agreements also involves some nuances that require attention. Read Article...

The Elements of a Negligence Claim
June 2019 - The types of legal claims that can be asserted against a health club are many and varied. There seems to be no limit to the kinds of incidents that can lead to the filing of a claim or lawsuit. A significant portion of these claims involves slip and falls, medical emergencies, injuries sustained on exercise equipment and employment claims. Despite the varied nature of claims filed against health clubs each year, most center on the legal theory of negligence, the failure to use reasonable care resulting in a person's injury or damages. In fact, allegations of negligence are involved in the bulk of all civil cases. Read Article...

The FLSA's "Final Rule" and How to Prepare for It
September 2016 - The fact that many employers struggle with wage and hour compliance, combined with employees having a greater awareness of their employment rights, has contributed to an already healthy boost in wage and hour disputes. A new law will almost certainly increase the volume of these disputes. The Fair Labor Standards Act's "Final Rule" takes effect on December 1, 2016. This new law dramatically raises the standard salary level for exempt employees and will further accelerate the increasing trend of wage and hour litigation. Read Article...

Understanding and Protecting Your Health Club's Intellectual Property
November 2019 - Health and fitness clubs, like most businesses, benefit from their intellectual property. And, like most industries, the health and fitness club industry is not immune to intellectual property disputes and lawsuits. Therefore, health and fitness clubs must protect their intellectual property, including their trademarks and copyrights. In addition to boosting and protecting your brand, understanding your legal rights and the mechanisms involved in the protection of your intellectual property can also minimize the possibility of a costly lawsuit. Read Article...

Utilizing a Cease and Desist Letter to Enforce Your Legal Rights and Protect Your Interests
May 2017 - What is one of the first things you should do upon learning that one of your former employees is in violation of their non-compete agreement, soliciting your current and former clients while working for your greatest competitor? What actions should you initially take upon discovering that another health club is using your protected logo or engaging in any activity that violates your legal rights or damages your protected interests? Read Article...

Washington State Supreme Court Rules:
Public Accommodation Employers Are Strictly Liable When Employees Discriminate Against Non-Employees

March 2019 - Employers may be found liable for the actions of their employees due to numerous legal doctrines. In addition to federal and local legislation, various state laws impact the causes of action available. A state law prohibiting discrimination, the Washington Law Against Discrimination (WLAD), was enacted many years ago to combat discrimination in employment, places of public accommodation and other contexts. The Washington State Supreme Court broadly interpreted the WLAD when it recently ruled, "employers are directly liable for the sexual harassment of members of the public by their employees, just as they would be if their employees turned customers away because of their race, religion or sexual orientation," whether or not the employer is aware of their employees' behavior. Read Article...

What Are the Elements of a Legal Contract?
June 2018 - Health club owners and operators are routinely parties to contracts. Some of these contracts are formal and complex, whereas others are informal and simple. However, regardless of these specifics, what constitutes a legal contract? An enforceable contract requires three elements: an offer, acceptance and consideration. There must also be a meeting of the minds between the contracting parties, along with an absence of fraud, duress, legal incapacity or any one of the many legal defenses to a breach of contract claim. Although contracts can generally be oral or verbal, some types of contracts must be reduced to writing. State laws govern contract enforceability and these laws vary, adding yet another legal facet that requires analysis when trying to determine whether a contract is legal. Read Article...

What Does At-Will Employment Mean?
January 2018 - Employment litigation continues to represent one of the most complicated and significant facets of legal exposure for health clubs. Some employers mistakenly assume that hiring employees "at-will" equates to a blanket authority to dismiss these employees at any time, regardless of the motive or rationale behind the decision, without potential liability. Although the authority to terminate an at-will employee is somewhat broad, it is not absolute. Statutory protections, common law exceptions to the at-will employment doctrine and tort causes of action limit this authority. Read Article...

What Employers Need to Know About Background Checks
April 2019 - A company is only as good as the people it employs. Character and integrity should rank highly among the list of personal attributes that employers seek when selecting employees. To quote the great Warren Buffet, "Somebody once said that in looking for people to hire, you look for three qualities: integrity, intelligence and energy. And, if you don't have the first, the other two will kill you." One of the ways employers work to ensure that employees of integrity are joining their ranks is by reviewing the backgrounds of their prospective hires. This might include a person's education, work history, credit history, social media presence and criminal record. However, federal laws and varying state and local laws protecting applicants and employees from discrimination must be adhered to. Read Article...

When A Health Club's Dress Code Conflicts With A Member's Religious Beliefs
June 2017 - Most health club owners and operators have had to decline or terminate someone's membership against that person's will for any number of reasons. Theft, threatening conduct, inappropriate attire and unsafe use of equipment are just some of the reasons that immediately come to mind. Yet, when does denying someone membership constitute illegal discrimination? It depends. Some instances of such discrimination are blatant, while others require individual analysis of the facts at issue and the federal, state and local laws that apply within the jurisdiction. Read Article...

Workplace Sexual Harassment
December 2017 - Matt Lauer, Harvey Weinstein and Charlie Rose are all making news headlines for reasons they wish they were not. Reported incidents of workplace sexual harassment, allegedly committed by various celebrities and top executives, are generating news headlines on a daily basis. Although most incidents of workplace sexual harassment involve neither a celebrity nor a top executive, current news headlines are shining a spotlight on this issue regardless of positional rank or celebrity status. Workplace sexual harassment is a complicated and sensitive legal issue. Read Article...

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