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The 193rd General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Section 85V: Sports program volunteers' liability; definitions

Section 85V. As used in this section, unless the context requires otherwise, the following words shall have the following meanings:—

''Compensation'', shall not include reimbursement for reasonable expenses actually incurred or to be incurred or, in the case of umpires or referees, a modest honorarium.

''Nonprofit association'', an entity which is organized as a nonprofit corporation or nonprofit unincorporated association under the laws of the commonwealth or the United States or any entity which is authorized to do business in the commonwealth as a nonprofit corporation or unincorporated association under the laws of the commonwealth.

''Sports program'', baseball, softball, football, basketball, soccer and any other competitive sport formally recognized as a sport by the United States Olympic Committee as specified by and under the jurisdiction of the Amateur Sports Act of 1978 Public Law 95–606, 36 USC sec. 371 et seq., the Amateur Athletic Union or the National Collegiate Athletic Association. It shall be limited to a program or that portion of a program that is organized for recreational purposes and whose activities are substantially for such purposes and which is primarily for participants who are eighteen years of age or younger whose nineteenth birthday occurs during the year of participation or the competitive season, whichever is longer; provided, however, that there shall be no age limitation for programs operated for the physically handicapped or mentally retarded.

Except as otherwise provided, in this section, no person who without compensation and as a volunteer, renders services as a manager, coach, umpire or referee or as an assistant to a manager or coach in a sports program of a nonprofit association or who renders services to a sailing program of a nonprofit association, no nonprofit association conducting a sports or a sailing program, and no officer, director, trustee, or member thereof serving without compensation shall be liable to any person for any action in tort as a result of any acts or failures to act in rendering such services or in conducting such sports program. The immunity conferred by this section shall not apply to any acts or failures to act intentionally designed to harm, or to any grossly negligent acts or failures to act which result in harm to the person. Nothing in this section shall be construed to affect or modify any existing legal basis for determining the liability, or any defense thereto, of any person not covered by the immunity conferred by this section.

Nothing in this section shall be construed to affect or modify the liability of a person or nonprofit association for any of the following:

(i) acts or failures to act which are committed in the course of activities primarily commercial in nature even though carried on to obtain revenue for maintaining the sports program or revenue used for other charitable purposes.

(ii) any acts or failures to act relating to the transportation of participants in a sports program or others to or from a game, event or practice.

(iii) acts or failures to act relating to the care and maintenance of real estate which such persons or nonprofit associations own, possess or control and which is used in connection with a sports program and or any other nonprofit association activity.