Gfeller Laurie LLP
Our Sports & Recreation attorneys engage in a unique, international practice, representing sports and recreational facilities throughout the United States and the Caribbean. We represent, or have represented, a large variety of recreational facilities and operators, including, among others, ski areas (winter and summer operations), ice arenas, parasail operators, jet ski operators, rock climbing facilities, zip line operators, gyms, equine facilities (including internationally known race tracks), auto race tracks, bike parks, scholastic/college/university-operated sports and recreational facilities, camps, fairs, festivals, carnivals, and water parks. We help our clients manage the inherent risks that naturally flow from the activities they host and aggressively defend them when they are sued. We have successfully tried numerous sports and recreational facilities cases in various states, effectively using litigation as a risk management tool for our clients.
We serve as national counsel for several specialized insurance programs catering to the sports and recreational industry.
Charles (“Charlie”) Gfeller leads the firm’s sports & recreational practice. He practices primarily in the areas of complex civil and commercial litigation, insurance coverage, products liability, and risk management. Charlie represents and/or has represented numerous ski areas and resorts (locally, regionally, and nationally), ice arenas, National Hockey League teams and facilities, stadiums, stadium operators, stadium concessionaires, zip line operators, marine-based recreational operators, fitness centers (including franchisees), equine facilities and race tracks, golf courses and golf clubs, schools, colleges and universities, fairs, festivals, and carnivals, other recreational facilities, and manufacturers of recreational products, providing both risk management and litigation services. In the products liability arena, his experience includes matters involving the ski / snowboard industry, recreational products industry, the automotive industry, manufacturing processes, as well as other areas. Charlie also represents and/or has represented musicians, a record label, recording studio, and screenwriters with respect to various aspects of their business.
Charlie manages and personally handles the litigation for several national insurance programs, which insure sports and recreational facilities and operators, such as ice arenas, auto race tracks, parasail and jet ski operators, and fitness centers. In fact, Charlie has played an integral role in launching some of these programs, by working with insurance brokers, managing general agents, and both domestic and London-based insurers. In this capacity, when not acting as defense counsel, Charlie is often asked to analyze complex coverage issues and provide coverage advice. Charlie also handles coverage disputes for insurers when necessary and appropriate.
Charlie has tried numerous cases (jury and courtside) in both state and federal courts across the United States, and he has argued before the Connecticut Appellate Court. He regularly participates in arbitrations, mediations, and other alternative dispute resolution proceedings on a national basis. He advises companies regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, the Federal Trade Commission, and the Consumer Products Safety Commission regarding product compliance, safety issues, advertising and collateral material reviews, and he has defended audits and agency investigations. Charlie has a broad range of experience in creating standard operating procedures for these types of companies.
Charlie is regularly invited to publish and speak, both nationally and internationally, on various subjects involving sports and recreational liability, risk management and products liability.