Central View: Contracts: Useful tools in a troubled society
October 11, 2017
Other than hurricanes, the recent major stories are: The Las Vegas Massacre and the disrespect some NFL players have shown for our National Anthem. Ironically, both of these non-hurricane events could have been prevented by the proper application of something relatively simple: Contract Law.
Here is a shoulda-woulda-coulda that could have prevented the entire NFL brouhaha and the NFL's drastic decline in TV viewership. NFL owners should have made US Code 36, Chapter 10, paragraph 171 a performance element in each and every contract between NFL owners and players. So doing would avoid any conflict with the 1st Amendment and would also be in harmony with the NFL's game-day operations manual which the spineless NFL, has chosen, thus far, not to enforce.
Here is the text: "Conduct during playing. During rendition of the national anthem when the flag is displayed, all present except those in uniform [meaning military uniform] should stand at attention facing the flag with the right hand over the heart. Men not in uniform should remove their headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart. Persons in uniform should render the hand salute at the first note of and retain this position until the last note. When the flag is not displayed, those present should face toward the music and act in the same manner they would if the flag were displayed there."
Turning to Las Vegas, the problem there, in addition to horrendous acts of a psychopath, is the failure of the murderer's hotel to enforce the standard room rental contract with the murderer. Guests can be evicted for: disorderly conduct, using the premises for an unlawful purpose or act, bringing property onto the premises that may be dangerous to others, and for violations of federal, state and local laws.
Under Common Law, which is routinely reinforced by state statutes, hotels, even in Nevada, have a duty to provide safe premises. Hotels must exercise reasonable care for the safety of guests. Hotels may be found negligent if they knew or should have known, upon reasonable inspection, of the existence of a danger or hazard and failed to take action to correct to correct it or to warn guests about it.
Hotels have "a duty to inspect" and look for hazards that may not be readily apparent. Hotels have a duty to warn guests of dangers or hazards. If the risk or harm was foreseeable, and the hotel failed to exercise reasonable care to either eliminate the risk or warn guests of its existence, the hotel may be liable for any resulting harm or damage caused by its negligence.
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Hotel room inspections are routinely performed when a maid cleans the room or suite. But, in the case of the Las Vegas shooter, the murderer was allowed to refuse maid service or any other inspection of his suite for four days. During that time the murderer amassed a huge cache of weapons and ammunition, and even built two sniper platforms.
While much is still unknown about the Las Vegas murderer and his motivation, the Las Vegas massacre is certain to make a number of Tort lawyers very wealthy.
Nationally syndicated columnist, William Hamilton, is a laureate of the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame, the Nebraska Aviation Hall of Fame, the Colorado Aviation Hall of Fame, the Oklahoma University Army ROTC Wall of Fame, and is a recipient of the University of Nebraska 2015 Alumni Achievement Award. He was educated at the University of Oklahoma, the George Washington University, the U.S Naval War College,the University of Nebraska, and Harvard University. For more, see: http://www.central-view.com.