Apollo Theatre Collapse; What are the potential individual consequences for the managers of venues?
This week we’ve seen the frightening ceiling collapse at the Apollo in London, and breathed a communal sigh of relief that there were no fatalities. How much worse it could have been.
Investigations, enquiries, possible recriminations, and the threat of prosecutions loom. It’s too early for certainty, but there are worrying noises, like the loud creaking that prompted some to vacate seats before things came crashing down.
News reports mention water dripping from the ceiling, and it seems hard to believe this is not linked.
Many things could have happened, for example:
– Was the roof in a suitable state of repair, and was guttering sufficiently cleaned?
– Were there any leaking pipes, and how adequate was maintenance?
– Were there any engineering plant issues which could have resulted in leakage
We don’t know if any of these are true, and are speculating, but for the purposes of this post let’s take this a step further and make a supposition.
Assume the ingress of water was a result of one of the examples above, and it’s proven as the clear root cause
What if the trustees, directors and management of the theatre were aware of this prior to the show (or really ought to have been aware of) these failings and issues?
Simply, if they are suspected of committing a “wrongful act”, which includes individual errors and omissions, they could be personally at risk of prosecution and their own assets could be in jeopardy. The threat of being sued by the injured parties seeking compensation is there too.
Everything would be compounded if there were fatalities, as we could be talking about defending manslaughter actions. Imagine how expensive defence costs and damages could be.
Q: So what can these key individuals do to protect themselves against personal actions?
A: They can buy management liability insurance
There are various types of management liability policy, depending on the status of the organization, and protection provided can be wide. Cover can be relatively inexpensive when considering what you may have to lose.