June 04, 2019 Book Review

Adventure and the Law: By Cecil C. Kuhne III

Reviewed by Christine Spinella Davis

Adventure and the Law tells compelling stories of individuals engaging in adventure sports with unfortunate and sad consequences, and chronicles the legal disputes and cases that followed. The stories behind the legal cases pulled me in immediately, and once I started this book, I could not put it down. It is a quick read at fewer than 150 pages—a nice change from the typically bulky legal treatises that lawyers often must use.

Although relatively concise and interesting, this book is also chock full of discussions of useful legal concepts and analyses that many lawyers routinely come across in their daily practice. As a legal reference guide, Adventure and the Law analyzes court cases dealing with legal issues arising from thrill-seeking activities like heli-skiing, spelunking, bungee jumping, whitewater rafting, and sky diving, to more traditional sports activities that include snowboarding, mountain biking, jet skiing, and scuba diving, among others. The book is divided into three sections: (I) Land, (II) Water, and (III) Air, followed by an appendix incorporating additional case discussions. Kuhne uses his unique background and knowledge as a litigator and former whitewater rafting guide to weave stories and legal analyses together into a very engaging read.

Myriad legal issues can arise from the activities that Kuhne addresses, which sadly are often in the form of wrongful death and personal injury claims. Topping the list are general tort concepts, insurance coverage disputes, and assumption of the risk and waiver, all of which can develop in any context, not just adventure sports. The author also discusses federal and state statutes, governmental immunity, and U.S. constitutional questions. For all attorneys whose practices include any of the above, this is a succinct, yet informative and useful resource. You never know when you might learn about a doctrine or defense that could apply to one of your own cases.

If you are a lawyer-adventurer yourself, you will find value in Adventure and the Law not only for its analysis of court decisions, but also for insights about what not to do in adventure sports. On the other hand, if you are like me and much prefer comfortably sitting on your sofa with a cup of tea reading about extreme activities rather than living them, be assured that this book will give you a little taste of the adventure, while also dissecting legal concepts that arise in one’s legal practice. Because Adventure and the Law is a light-weight book and easy to carry, you might even want to throw in your briefcase and peruse it on the train on your commute home.

To order Adventure and the Law, go to

https://www.americanbar.org/products/inv/book/214621/ or call 1-800-285-2221.

Regular price: $59.95; TIPS Member price: $45.95.

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Reviewed by Christine Spinella Davis

Christine Spinella Davis practices in the litigation group of the Washington, D.C., office of Bradley Arant Boult & Cummings LLP, where her focus is on insurance coverage. She is the executive editor of TortSource, editor in chief of the Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Law Journal, and a former chair of the TIPS Business Litigation Committee. She can be reached at cdavis@bradley.com.