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Maurizio D'Angelo




Location: Italy
Joined: 09 Feb 2009
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PostPosted: Mon 16 Nov, 2009 6:17 pm    Post subject: legal aspects         Reply with quote

I read this from the topic of Mr. E. Stafford on SCA.

I have been in a martial arts class where a sparring partner disregarded my safety, and I do not care to know how my arm was close to being broken. I know, personally, another who was stabbed by a broken blade in epee fencing tournament at mundane. If I do not have 110% control of a technique, I will not attempt a given technique. with anyone."

My comments concern the legal aspects. There are records of claims for damages?
When you fight, no matter what discipline, you are insured against damage that may result?
There are episodes of claims against the manufacturers?
If you break a blade, you create a wound for this, the user can claim against the manufacturer?
The manufacturer has done well the sword, as may be responsible for incorrect use of the sword? Can prove it?
Lawyers are good at these things. Here's something that I can not understand.
What do you think? I apologize for the horrible English.Cool
Ciao
Maurizio
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Michael Edelson




Location: New York
Joined: 14 Sep 2005

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PostPosted: Mon 16 Nov, 2009 6:39 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

What I think is that martial arts insurance is cheap for a reason, and that is people don't really sue over this stuff. Why that is is anyone's guess.

As for broken blades hurting people, you can try, but it will cost you, and lawyers only take cases for a portion of winnings if they think that they can win AND that the people suing have the money to make it worthwhile. Otherwise, you'll go to sue and the lawyer will say, "Sure, just give me ten thousand retainer and 200 per hour after that and you have yourself a lawsuit."

With sword makers the issue is not only that they don't have huge piles of cash lying around, but that "I smacked this sword into a wooden post a thousand times until the tip snapped and cut off my wife's ear" is really hard to sell to a jury as anything other than the fact that you're an idiot. Happy

New York Historical Fencing Association
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E Stafford




PostPosted: Mon 16 Nov, 2009 7:48 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Eek! Eek!. Ok, talk about a bolt from the blue.

I'm not particular with the rapier blade incident, I just know the guy. My experience was that a ninja wanna-be put an arm bar on me and didn't increase pressure SLOWLY, like we were told to do, but increased the pressure on the joint so fast I didn't have time to tap out. Had plenty of time to scream though. My arm didn't break, but felt very loose afterwards for the rest of the evening. In that case, I did sign a waiver before the class, so the teacher wouldn't have been held liable.

The point of my post was that the SCA bans certain techniques for safety reasons, which I believe is being "held against us". These techniques are throws, disarms, anything interfering with vision, and full contact punches/kicks. Were they period? Absolutely. Is there a way to recreate them safely? I have no idea, and unless I've had one sparring partner and have trained with them exclusively for over a year and a half, I don't want to find out.

DISCLAIMER: I DO NOT HOLD A POSITION IN THE SCA, NOR AM I A CURRENT MEMBER. ALL COMMENTS MADE ARE THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO E, AND ALL CONCLUSIONS MADE ARE NOT THE OFFICIAL STANDPOINT OF THE SCA. I'm not yelling, just emphasizing.

An addition: SCA rapier blades are made to break flat, all the armor we wear is just insurance in case someone's using a epee blade, which don't break flat. The rattan the heavies use just smushes until the "sword" is no longer usable.


Last edited by E Stafford on Mon 16 Nov, 2009 7:49 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Sam Gordon Campbell




Location: Australia.
Joined: 16 Nov 2008

Posts: 677

PostPosted: Mon 16 Nov, 2009 7:48 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well both the groups I train with (SCA, and Stoccata), do their uttermost to ensure safety on every level. If something isn't historically accurate but increases safety ten-fold, so be it.
Of course, one also signs a statement that effectively says "... You're doing this of your own free will, as a hobby, and for fitness, and fun; thus we are completely not accountable if you do hurt yourself. seriously, why were you swinging a sharp sword at your friend holding an apple ..."
And I think that rule applies to every aspect; from sword makers to groups, there's a certain risk when using weapons and skills that were used to kill, and if you were stupid, what'd you expect.
Your 'lawer' would still charge you, of course Big Grin

Member of Australia's Stoccata School of Defence since 2008.
Host of Crash Course HEMA.
Founder of The Van Dieman's Land Stage Gladiators.
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Jean-Carle Hudon




Location: Montreal,Canada
Joined: 16 Nov 2005
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Posts: 446

PostPosted: Mon 16 Nov, 2009 8:02 pm    Post subject: easy targets         Reply with quote

Well, lawyers are easy targets, but as a lawyer I am always amazed at how good citizens forget that the lawyer is representing, and thus getting his marching orders, from another good citizen....
The point about civil litigation over damages, broken blades or whatever, is that most civil law systems require evidence of a fault being committed in order for there to be liability. That is one evidentiary hurdle. The next is the notion of acceptance of inherent risks when one engages in dangerous activities, then there is the common venture...
Sometimes an accident is just that, an accident, without fault of any involved, and then there is no liability.
Sometimes the fault is as much your own, which makes it difficult to assess liability.
Then of course there are cultural factors, such as considering hockey and rugby and football as pretty much off limits to litigation (Thank goodness..), and to top it all off, some systems still have jury trials for civil cases, the costs of which are frankly prohibitive.
Recently there has been some movement in criminal cases, and some civil case under the common law where the aggression committed was clearly outside of the realm of accepted aggression in a sport (Hockey, to be clear, stick attacks to the rear of the head, and a goalie skating across the rink to attack another goalie who was just leaning on his stick, watching the brawl unfold some fifty feet away..)
I've heard of ten thousand dollar retainers in the US...maybe I'll move there in my next life. In the meantime, I'll just keep representing injured workers, for a salary which is way below what most computer geeks get straight out of geek school...and yes, I know many good lawyer jokes: do you know why lawyers can swim anywhere and not fear a shark attack? Professional courtesy!..... What do you call a hundred lawyers drowning in lake Superior? A good beginning! and on, and on
Cheers all, and may you never need to seek counsel.
Jean-Carle

Bon coeur et bon bras
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Maurizio D'Angelo




Location: Italy
Joined: 09 Feb 2009
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Reading list: 3 books

Posts: 649

PostPosted: Mon 16 Nov, 2009 10:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

damn ... I made a mess...I do not know where to start.

E Stafford wrote:
Eek! Eek!. Ok, talk about a bolt from the blue.
...In that case, I did sign a waiver before the class, so the teacher wouldn't have been held liable.



Your topic got me thinking about legal issues, but obviously my thoughts are not reported to the SCA, or your words in particular, but all the fighting in general.


Michael Edelson wrote:

With sword makers the issue is not only that they don't have huge piles of cash lying around, but that "I smacked this sword into a wooden post a thousand times until the tip snapped and cut off my wife's ear" is really hard to sell to a jury as anything other than the fact that you're an idiot. Happy


Michael, said so, I agree with you ... but think that there can be serious situations ...
I do not know the laws of your country, I know the European laws.
Maybe I'd be a fool in America, in Europe, no.
A great blacksmith swords writes on his website: only for ornamental use.
His swords are great swords fighter, everyone knows that.
Now perhaps you know why he writes so.


Sam Gordon Campbell wrote:

And I think that rule applies to every aspect; from sword makers to groups, there's a certain risk when using weapons and skills that were used to kill, and if you were stupid, what'd you expect.
Your 'lawer' would still charge you, of course Big Grin


Try to think of a hypothetical situation: reenactor rally in the square, audience, children usually are in the front row. A blade breaks, someone is injured seriously.
The public does not sign letters releases ....

Jean-Carle Hudon wrote:
Well, lawyers are easy targets, but as a lawyer I am always amazed at how good citizens forget that the lawyer is representing, and thus getting his marching orders, from another good citizen....
...A good beginning! and on, and on
Cheers all, and may you never need to seek counsel.
Jean-Carle


lawyers are easy targets, true ... a lawyer is good for the side that wins ... it's bad for the side that loses ... this makes the lawyers easy targets ... but I have not invented it.
Was not my intention to hurt the category. If I did this, I apologize.Happy


Perhaps the problem in some situations there is...

Ciao
Maurizio


Last edited by Maurizio D'Angelo on Mon 16 Nov, 2009 11:35 pm; edited 1 time in total
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E Stafford




PostPosted: Mon 16 Nov, 2009 10:41 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

You didn't make a mess, I just wasn't expecting the question, is all.
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Jean-Carle Hudon




Location: Montreal,Canada
Joined: 16 Nov 2005
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Posts: 446

PostPosted: Tue 17 Nov, 2009 4:04 am    Post subject: no mess         Reply with quote

Maurizio,
No mess, and your topic is a good one, as is your hypothetical case of the injured spectator. I have , in the past, advised people who were organizing events with live steel reenactment of the risks they were taking, especially as they were unable to find an insurance company ready to take on that particular risk ( the live steel component).
Sometimes people think they are insured, but they never take the time to read the contract, which is often limited and excludes any high risk activities. If litigation does come up, for example a child injured in the eye by a flying piece of steel, and the insurance company denies coverage, then the people involved are pretty much on their own to defend themselves on the one hand, and attempt to sue their own insurance company on the other. Not a nice prospect.
The reason I use a child as an example is because a child is usually deemed faultless, and unable to consent to a risky activity, so it is then difficult to argue that the child knew the risks of the situation, making the faulty party more liable to bear the full load on his own if the judge, or the jury in some jurisdictions, would decide that there was a fault committed which rendered him liable. Not an enjoyable thought.
As for waivers, they do not totally preclude litigation. They are helpfull in indicating that the injured party was forewarned of the dangers or risks involved, but it is often argues that the particular fault alleged was beyond the understanding of what was being considered in the waiver ( flying steel and the spectator: spectator argues that he thought the equipment being used was safe enough that such a thing could not happen... or the degree of training was such that the sword would not fly loose under normal circumstances... or the force used was so exagerated in this particular instance that the participant who made the blade fly away was at fault, etc..etc..)
Play safe.
Cheers,
Jean-Carle

Bon coeur et bon bras
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Michael Edelson




Location: New York
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PostPosted: Tue 17 Nov, 2009 4:51 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Here in the US, waivers do not hold up court in most states, but insurance companies use them as a means to deny coverage. "Oh, he didn't sign a waiver? But we require that! No coverage for you!" They are also a deterent, because people believe they work, which is another reason insurance companies want them.

Also, unless what you did is a clear violation of your contract (though my martial arts insurance does not have a contract...they asked to send them a letter describing what we do), an insurance company cannot deny coverage (except medical insurance...they own the government and can do whatever they want). What insurance companies do here is to cover you, then sue you to get their money back if they think they can win. And sometimes even if they think they can't, just to chance that you will screw up your defence and give them a default judgment.

What most Americans don't know is that you don't need a lawyer to fight such a suit, you can scribble your response on a paper napkin with the words "pro se" and file it in court. Your response can consist of nothing more than "My name is Bob, the case number is XYZ, ABC Insurance Vs. Bob, and all of their claims are wrong, thanks."

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Maurizio D'Angelo




Location: Italy
Joined: 09 Feb 2009
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Reading list: 3 books

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PostPosted: Wed 18 Nov, 2009 4:52 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

just a few weeks ago, the FIS Italian has published a series of behavioral rules for fencing history.
Among these standards are included weapons. Can be constructed in steels tempered, according to certain rules.
It is hoped the construction of swords in maraging steels. Eek!
I know well these types of steels, are widely used in industry aerospace, some sword makers have already made some blade with these steels? They have exceptional strength and toughness, not process hardening, but process aging.
Ciao
Maurizio
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Gabriele A. Pini




Location: Olgiate Comasco, Como
Joined: 02 Sep 2008

Posts: 239

PostPosted: Thu 19 Nov, 2009 2:46 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The problem in Italy (but I think in all the western world) is the possibility to obtain a compensation from pratically everything.
During a party organized by the nursery school of a town near mine a woman tripped by herself and broken her leg: she obtained 10.000,00€ because there was a small dirt pathway to cross...

Even after two years my relatives are more preoccupied for me and the medieval fencing than for my two brothers and basketball, no matter that my middle brother as sustained two surgical operation for broken knees, and my sister has hands gnarled like a root... Nobody even think to sue the other team for them: accidents happen in all sports, but when I talked of the rubber arrow that hit me under my shield (leaving only a small bruise) someone suggested that I sued the manifestation.

In our company we are talking of an insurance for the spectators, but don't have figures yet.
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Mark Millman





Joined: 10 Feb 2005

Posts: 231

PostPosted: Thu 19 Nov, 2009 9:22 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dear Mr. D'Angelo,

On Wednesday 18 November 2009, you wrote:
just a few weeks ago, the FIS Italian has published a series of behavioral rules for fencing history.
Among these standards are included weapons. Can be constructed in steels tempered, according to certain rules.
It is hoped the construction of swords in maraging steels. Eek!
I know well these types of steels, are widely used in industry aerospace, some sword makers have already made some blade with these steels? They have exceptional strength and toughness, not process hardening, but process aging.
Ciao
Maurizio

The FIS seems to be taking its cue from the Fédération Internationale d'Escrime, which regulates sport (i.e., Olympic-style) fencing. Its rules require competitors in high-level competitions to use weapons with blades made from maraging steel. They last about three times as long as conventional blades, but cost three times as much. Thus they aren't actually a worse deal than conventional blades--a fencer is likely to get the same amount of use for his money--but they increase the initial cost to acquire weapons.

This seems like a rather pointless, and perhaps counterproductive, action for historical combat. Our blades are much less likely to break, and they're already many times as expensive as fencing weapons. In addition, maraging steels--at least those that are used in fencing weapons, which I imagine would be the first choice for historical-combat weapons--tend to be considerably stiffer than conventional steels, and historical-combat weapon designers have already had to take special precautions to make their products safe in the thrust.

There may well be sword makers who have experimented with maraging steels, but I personally don't know of any. I think that they'd be most practical for mass-produced items, but I'm making that judgment based on my familiarity with maraging-steel fencing blades. And they'd certainly greatly increase the cost of our equipment, very possibly to a degree that, if they were required, might well interfere with people's ability to join the activity.

Best,

Mark Millman
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Maurizio D'Angelo




Location: Italy
Joined: 09 Feb 2009
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PostPosted: Fri 20 Nov, 2009 12:33 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mr. Millman
I agree with you, the cost is enormous. On average these steels cost from 22 euros to 45 euros per kg. To build a good sword from 1.3 kg may require 4 kg of material. The cost is very high. Fédération Internationale d'Escrime have long used these steels. In terms of security is better. The propagation of cracks in these steels is slower than traditional ones. The time to realize that something is wrong is usually enough to decide to change the sword. Although on the internet I read that the time of crack between a sword and a traditional steel maraging steel is the same. I am not agree, not personal experience on the sword but by experience parts that we call "security." You will notice early break controls that take time before the crack. This is due to their great toughness.
Personally I like the sword rings when striking another sword, a beginning of rupture changes the sound of the sword. Without special checks, just the sound provided you have the time to hear it, obviously. For these reasons, maybe better a sword that a ring that produces a muffled sound.
Ciao
Maurizio
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