About Me

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I am an attorney practicing in Hartford, Connecticut. A particular focus of mine is the legal needs of the amusement and tourism industry. My focus on the amusement industry derives from my pre-law career as an operations manager with Cedar Fair Entertainment Company and Universal Orlando. Having started my career as a ride operator at Cedar Point in 1992, I progressed through the seasonal ranks and ultimately became the Manager of Ride Operations and Park Services at Worlds of Fun in Kansas City. I also worked in Universal's operations department during the construction and development of Islands of Adventure. Today, I am an active member of the New England Association of Amusement Parks & Attractions and the International Association of Amusement Parks & Attractions. I have been invited to speak at amusement industry meetings and seminars and have worked on a variety of matters relating to this industry.

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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

IAAPA 2011: Five Legally Themed Sessions You Should Attend (and why)

Like many of you, I hope, I will be making the trek to sunny Orlando soon for next week's IAAPA Attractions Expo 2011.  In anticipation of the big event, I thought it would be fun to highlight some of the best that IAAPA has to offer (or that I think IAAPA has to offer) at this year's event.  So, for the next few days, I will be offering a different "Top 5" list to help you get the most out of your visit.***  I will also be in attendance at most, if not all, of my "Top 5" selections for the week, so if you see me (I'll be the one in the suit looking exceptionally lawyerly), please don't hesitate to stop and say hello!


***Please note that, except if I note otherwise, I have no particular connection to any of these sessions and have not been asked by IAAPA or any of the speakers to promote any of them in particular.  These are just my own opinions.  That said, if anyone out there wants to buy me a drink in Orlando for recommending a particular session, I would be glad to take you up on it. ***

So, without any further ado, I give you the 5 Legally Themed Sessions You Should Attend (and why):



No. 5:  Personally Identifiable Information Issues (PII)
(Tuesday 11/15, 5:00-6:15 PM, Room S330B)

Privacy issues are extremely hot in the law right now.  They are the subject of extensive regulation and have become a hotbed for litigation in recent years - leading many law firms to develop entire practice groups devoted to this important issue (like mine).  Privacy is also one of the most confusing areas of the law - it is not always intuitive and is developing at a pace that can make it difficult to keep up with.  Given that there are real consequences for failing to safeguard personally identifiable information properly, I think its worth sticking around a little late to attend this session. 


No. 4: Legal Roundtable
(Thursday 11/17 12:00 - 2:00 PM, Room S331BC)

OK - full disclosure on this one - I'll be speaking on the panel and will do my utmost to astonish you with my brilliance.  So will a bunch of other amusement industry lawyers.  While I admit that,  in past years, this session was not all it probably could have been (no offense intended to my colleagues who have done it longer than I have), this year's session has the potential to be different.  Rather than a "free-for-all," every-man-for-himself structure, the organizers of this year's Legal Roundtable have made a real effort to lay out an agenda that will include discussion of the most important court cases and legal developments affecting the amusement industry while reducing repeition and (if all goes to plan) leaving ample opportunity at the end to address your concerns and questions.  Where else can you get to talk to a room full of lawyers without any of them sending you a bill itemized in convenient six-minute increments?

No. 3:  Hot Topics in Government Relations
(Thursday 11/17 5:00-6:15 PM, Room S310GH)

I'll be honest, I don't really know what they are going to discuss at this session.  That said, if its anything close to last year's session, it will be worth attending.  IAAPA's Government Relations Office does an excellent job working on behalf of the membership on important legislative developments, but we don't often get the opportunity to discuss any of them in depth with the people that are working with them every day.  This could be your chance.  Last year's session delved into the complexities of the new Healthcare Reform Bill and offered some valuable information and opportunity for discussion.  Hopefully, this year's session will offer up something similar.

No. 2:  Safety & Regulations:  Their Effect on the IAAPA Membership
(Thursday 11/17 3:30-4:45 PM, Room S330A)

I particularly like this session for two main reasons. 1) It is one of the few panels at IAAPA to bring together representatives from all facets of our industry.  While most sessions at IAAPA are geared to waterparks OR large fixed site parks OR FEC's OR zoos - this session promises a panel comprised of representatives from all of the above.  Makes a lot of sense given that safety is the unifying factor in our industry.  2) The panel will also include regulators.  Trust me when I tell you that you can get real insight into how to avoid regulatory missteps if you can get into the head of the regulator.  While most sessions at IAAPA focus only on the perspective of the operator, this one promises a regulator's perspective as well - one we don't usually get to hear.

No. 1:  New ADA Rules:  What Your U.S. Facility Needs To Do by March 2012
(Tuesday 11/15/2011, 3:30-4:45 PM, Room S310GH)    
 
If you run a facility, large or small, you need to be at this session.  There are some pretty big changes to the ADA coming in March 2012 and they are not easy to understand.  Nonetheless, this session is going to attempt to help us all understand a little better how to comply with the new law and, hopefully, clear up some confusion on certain aspects of it.  The ADA is always a prime target for litigation and once an ADA claim is raised, it can be very difficult to get out of with your good public image intact.  Take the opportunity to learn what you can so that you can, hopefully, avoid trouble down the road.

And there you have it.  Hopefully, all of these live up to the hype. If they don't - so sorry but I had nothing to do with them (apart from my 3-5 minutes of utter genius at the Legal Roundtable).   

Tomorrow, I'll be sending out my Five Sessions That Could (Unintentionally) Help You Avoid Legal Trouble (and why) - Stay Tuned and See You In Orlando!

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