Recently, in Boudreau v. Bank of Montreal, the Ontario Court of Appeal upheld a motion dismissing a lawsuit against Bank of Montreal (BMO), Rogers Communications Inc. (Rogers), and Umbro Inc. (Umbro).

BMO, Rogers and Umbro were corporate sponsors of a soccer event organized by the Ontario Soccer Association (OSA). Boudreau was a player who sustained injuries during game play and was unfortunately rendered a paraplegic as a result of his injuries. Boudreau sued not only the OSA but also the corporate sponsors claiming that: the OSA carried inadequate accident insurance for the soccer players; that it was foreseeable to the corporate sponsors that a player would get hurt; and that the corporate sponsors had a legal duty to the appellant to inquire into the adequacy of insurance coverage for the players or, if they did inquire, to ensure that adequate insurance coverage was available.

The court held that corporate sponsors who provide financial support to a sporting event should not be held liable in the event that a participant gets injured by participating in the event. Corporate sponsors have little to no control over the organization or the management of such events or the participants or attendees thereof. As a result, the court found in this case that there was insufficient proximity between corporate sponsors and individual participants to give rise to a duty of care owed by the sponsors to the plaintiff.

This article by Canadian Lawyer Magazine discusses the issue in greater detail and provides some good insight for corporations who enter into sponsorship agreements of sporting and similar events.