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Supacase's avatar

How can I find out if a non-profit has ever been sued?

Asked by Supacase (14563points) March 23rd, 2011

I am involved with an International non-profit with several thousand individual chapters. All new members must sign a liability waiver stating that their participation is voluntary and they will not hold the organization responsible for any accidents.

There is no umbrella insurance from International that covers individual chapters. International does not specifically state this in the manual, but it does stress the importance of keeping current liability waivers on file for all members as well as having all attendees sign in on a sheet with the liability statement at every gathering. If anyone brings a child who is not their own, say a friend of their kid or someone they babysit, they are supposed to have a note from that child’s parent. To be honest, most chapters do not do all of this, but I have not heard of any problems of this sort in all of my years with this organization. Some chapters have purchased liability policies on their own, but the vast majority have not.

One chapter is in a dither about this and I have been trying to resolve it for months. Nothing has happened, it is just the fear of the possibility. At this point, I think the only thing that will help is to find any past lawsuits and their resolutions.

Long story to ask – how might I do that? Google has not produced any results and International is pretty much done with it after several reiterations of the same information.

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5 Answers

lloydbird's avatar

Googling non-profit organisations/litigation against brings up a lot of interesting stuff.

HudsonHero's avatar

To answer the first part of your question: Do a search of court records in your state. See what comes up.
I worked for a non-profit, overseeing a children’s program. Some of the best advice I was given was, if a lawyer questioned you in court, would you be able to say that you did everything (reasonable) that you could to keep kids safe? Did you do everything a reasonable person would do? Go from there.

glasseggplant's avatar

You can go to….....non profit law suits use the name of the org. or what they say they do…ex. non profit childrens org. law suits….......the most simple statement gets the most info….good luck

Supacase's avatar

@glasseggplant That is pretty much what I did.

@HudsonHero Thanks for the tip as well as the advice about doing everything reasonable. That is a good point to bring up with her.

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