John Petrone was recently quoted in a May 16, 2016 article in Street & Smith’s Sports Business Journal. The article is reprinted below with the publisher’s permission.
Lambeau Field latest to get DHS designation
By David Broughton, Staff Writer
Published May 16, 2016, Page 9
The Green Bay Packers have been awarded a federal Safety Act designation and certification, the highest level in a program run by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
The recognition gives the team protection from paying claims that might be filed by victims in the event of a terrorist attack at Lambeau Field.
The stadium becomes the eighth sports venue to be covered under some level of Safety Act protection.
Officially known as the Support Anti-Terrorism by Fostering Effective Technologies Act, the Safety Act encourages the creation and use of anti-terrorism technologies and practices. It was enacted in 2002 in response to the multibillion-dollar lawsuits filed after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks that left companies concerned they would be sued if security equipment they made or were using failed to stop terrorists.
Before September 2001, terrorism was included in most commercial insurance policies in the United States, but after the attacks, the majority of insurers moved to exclude terrorism from their contracts. Federal lawmakers in 2002 passed the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act, which required all insurers to offer terrorism coverage to their policyholders. The Safety Act followed later that year, and entities awarded protection under that legislation are covered against an attack that is certified as an “act of terrorism” by the federal government.
The Packers. and any security-related vendor or product they use that is also DHS-certified, are now guaranteed that the maximum payout in a lawsuit is limited to the amount of liability insurance coverage already recommended by DHS. That amount varies by venue across sports, based on capacity, available parking, adjacent buildings and other factors.
The protection can be overcome only if a lawsuit presents clear and convincing evidence that the team or company acted fraudulently or with willful misconduct when applying for Safety Act protections.
Once an entity has applied for DHS protection, the review process takes about five months, according to DHS.
Doug Collins. director of security and risk management for the Packers, said Green Bay began its process last July.
“Going through the process allowed us to verify we have all the best practices in place to provide a safe and secure venue,” Collins said.
John Petrone, president and partner of Petrone Risk, said the DHS award is not a reward for having a good plan on paper but an acknowledgment that a team is making a promise to constantly monitor and update its security protocols. Petrone Risk, the risk-management division of New York-based law firm Petrone and Petrone, is working with the Buffalo Bills, Cleveland Browns and Tennessee Titans on Safety Act applications.
“The application process itself is long and onerous, but getting the Safety Act award is really just the beginning,” Petrone said. “Every step of the way, you have to keep asking yourself: ‘Do you have a safety group that meets? How often? Do you have notes from those meetings? Where do you keep them? What steps were taken?’ The key in litigation is proving negligence. Saying you have a plan is great, but you have to be able to cover [yourself].”
For more information on Street & Smith’s Sports Business Journal, visit www.sportsbusinessdaily.com.