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Colm OReilly
9/04/2002 8:29am,
Just reading the Legal threat thread and the question popped into my head: Has anyone ever sued a martial arts instructor for fraud/damages?

I know in Ireland there are three things necessary for tort (damages)

1: the defendent owed a duty of care:
E.g. I will train you how to effectively defend yourself. His duty of care is to train the individual to a hight enough standard so that he may reasonably defend himself

2: duty of care breached
"Viper shoots out its tongue" or whatever technique does not work properly

3: Damaged was caused as a result of that breach
Little Timmy the student got his assed hospitalised.

Has this ever been done before? Certainly seems possible

Royal Dragon
9/04/2002 8:32am,
Doubt it, self defense skills relie just as much on talent and heart of the practitioner as the knowledge of the teacher.

A good student can learn to fight well from a bad teacher.

Some sudents are so bad that God himself couldn't teach them no matter how good the system is.

If someone tried, all the techer has to do is say look, I told him this, but he didn't get it and did his own thing anyway. Not "my" fault.

Gezere
9/04/2002 9:15am,
RD is right.

There is no garauntee. You can have the best MArtist in the world and he may not be able to teach worth a damn.

It would be difficult to prove the teacher is at fault for you getting your butt kicked.

You could get them for FRAUD in where they misrepresent themselves and what they teach.

Xiao Ao Jiang Hu Zhi Dong Fang Bu Bai (Laughing Proud Warrior Invinsible Asia) Emporer of Baji!!! THE FIRST LINE OF DEFENSE AGAINST THE UNITED AUSSIE FRONT!!

Phrost
9/04/2002 9:33am,
Instead of suing instructors for failing to teach someone self defense skills, what about going at it a different way and suing them for false representation of their own skills?

It seems reasonable to me to expect that an instructor in the martial arts should be able to demonstrate his abilities outside of a controlled environment, and be held up to a standard of integrity when it comes to his background.

But unfortunately, at the moment nobody has prosecuted such a case as I know of, and so we're stuck with the principle of caveat emptor, let the buyer beware.

And that's the reason why we have this website.

Gezere
9/04/2002 11:47am,
>It seems reasonable to me to expect that an instructor in the martial arts should be able to demonstrate his abilities outside of a controlled environment, and be held up to a standard of integrity when it comes to his background

The problem with this, Phrost, is that your instructor can be a kick ass person but that doesn't garuantee that YOU will be one. Knowing and being able to fight doesn't mean you can effective TEACH. They are two different skills.

Here is something. When you deal with TMA schools the best student and fighter is generally NOT the person who is picked to be the next headmaster!!!! You talk to many TMA headmasters fo a system and they will tell you there were others that were better than them. Hatsumi admits, Yang Ming admits it and others I talk to admit it. It is (should as WAS since everyone and their mother can be a GRANDMASTER now) practice.

Xiao Ao Jiang Hu Zhi Dong Fang Bu Bai (Laughing Proud Warrior Invinsible Asia) Emporer of Baji!!! THE FIRST LINE OF DEFENSE AGAINST THE UNITED AUSSIE FRONT!!

Royal Dragon
9/04/2002 12:08pm,
Also, a teachers skills could not be tested scientifically either as it would require significant risk to their safety. Then if they are past their prime and loose the fight, they are made to "Appear" like frauds, when in fact they can still train a fighter to top levels even though they can't fight themselves.

Surely "Old Man" (Heilio) Gracie would get his ass handed to him by his own best fighters, probually even his crappy fighters. But he can still teach the game.

Amir
9/04/2002 12:27pm,
Testing the skill of the teacher, as a fighter says nothing - what happens if the teacher is already elderly, sick etc.
Besides, how can anyone create a truly objective test and a safe one? Various systems, different skills, danger of practice etc.

The only thing one can prove is the Genealogy and history. Fraudulant claims may be discovered.
But some McDojo teachers I read about don't lie outright, they simply give a wrong impression, making the unimportant organization that gave them rank first-rate, etc. These are common marketing strategies used by lots of companies and almost impossible to defeat at court (I don't have legal education - an unprofessional impression).

Amir

Phrost
9/04/2002 1:08pm,
But Helio has been tested, and found to be more than legitimate, by not only the actions in his youth, but by his students' success. I don't think that there's anyone that would question either his skills or teaching ability.

I'm reading a lot of "you can't do this that or the other" but it's not what I want to see.

What do you think can be done?

Gezere
9/05/2002 1:57am,
Helio did some good thing but even Helio has been beaten. Going off what Amir said, If I came up to challenge Helio right now I would skulldrag him (I'm even worried about the res of the Gracies)! Heilo will be 90 this year I doubt he can through down like he used to but he maybe able to still teach. Would me beating up a 90 year old man mean he was a fraud for teaching MA when he could no longer fight?

You CAN sue someone for misrepresentation. That has been done. If the person says he is X belt in an organization and you find out that either he was never in the orginization or it doesn't exist. Or paying a fee for a membership to an orginization that doesn't exist, etc.

A big problem is that, in the US, there is no standard to which these goes have to be held to teach MA. ANYONE can open a school and teach MA. It is not like a Grade School or College Teacher where they have certian standards, althought they vary state to state now there is a effort to go to a nation wide standard, to adhere to.

Xiao Ao Jiang Hu Zhi Dong Fang Bu Bai (Laughing Proud Warrior Invinsible Asia) Emporer of Baji!!! THE FIRST LINE OF DEFENSE AGAINST THE UNITED AUSSIE FRONT!!

9chambers
9/05/2002 2:06am,
what about testing the level of skill in his other students?

Amir
9/05/2002 4:29am,
Testing the students, I am afraid I find that unrealistic as well:

Not everyone is skilled enough to be a champion. Different people have different natural skills. Should a teacher train only those gifted in the M.A. aspect? Should the teachers compete for those skilled students?

Under which rules will you test? Won’t those rules make it possible for someone to develop “the best M.A.” just because it complies best with the rules?

What would you do with a M.A. teacher who dedicates is time to teach the disabled?

What about a teacher who is new (just immigrated for example) and doesn't have veteran students?

What about a teacher who doesn't care abut the 'Martial aspect' of M.A. or cares less about it, and doesn't mislead anyone about it. Does this make him illegitimate just because his aims in the M.A. are different then yours ?
( I know a very dedicated M.A.-tist, who is also a teacher by now whose main reason is health - practicing Tai-Chi helps his knees function after he injured them in the army).

And how will you test the skills of a Weapons M.A. teacher ? let us assume he isn't teaching empty hand at all but just Kyudo or Kendo or Ksari-Jitsu (Chain) ? (where is the "court" supposed to find an appropriate expert to test him ??)


The main problem with standardization is each person has different aims. I have yet to have read a single definition of M.A. that made all practitioners of M.A. agree on. I believe, just like any other service or product, any standardization should only insure two things:

1. The teacher is qualified enough not to harm his students directly (Not when they are facing someone on the street, as mentioned before, such a situation contains way to many factors).

2. The teacher isn't an outright fraud. He does have the qualifications and training he claims.

Anything else is up for the student to decide. Just like any other consumer.

Amir

9chambers
9/05/2002 8:12am,
I don't believe in standardization either ~ I really don't see any plausable method for doing that. Students don't really know better though ~ how is a 12 year old supposed to evaluate his teacher.

1. Parents should be very involved.

2. There should be some sort of consumer report group that evaluates and offers unbiased opinions as to the validity and competence of an instructor.

..without the fear of getting sued.

Kind of like mcdojo.com or something. :)

aelius
9/05/2002 9:02am,
If the teacher is qualified to teach and makes no claims other than: 'these techniques may help you when attacked or threatened' then I can't see any legal reason how anyone could sue. If the teacher makes outrageous claims like: 'No one will ever kick your ass again,' and you get whooped, then you have a legitimate legal claim against that instructor - although if it's only a verbal acclamation you're gonna find it hard to persue!

As regarding testing MA instructors. Why? What would it prove? Because an experienced and skillful MA gets an arse kicking does that make him a crap teacher? Don't think so! Learning how to fight isn't the same as being able to.

When a student learns to drive, does he choose an instructor that has never been involved in an accident on the evidence that they are obviously the best?

Gezere
9/05/2002 9:17am,
>If the teacher is qualified to teach and makes no claims other than: 'these techniques may help you when attacked or threatened' then I can't see any legal reason how anyone could sue.

You are correct. You can't sue them for that. It doesn't leave you grounds to sue them on.


>If the teacher makes outrageous claims like: 'No one will ever kick your ass again,' and you get whooped, then you have a legitimate legal claim against that instructor - although if it's only a verbal acclamation you're gonna find it hard to persue!

This is misrepresentation and fraud. The Gracies could be sued for this. They are video taped saying that GJJ is "Invincible" and "unbeatable" BUT there are instances where both have been proven wrong. If someone really had a stick up their butt they could make a good case of it.


>1. Parents should be very involved.

This is a nobrainer. If the parent is not involved then it is the PARENTS fault if something goes wrong. If my daughter wanted to take a MA course you can bet I will be checking it to see the quality of the school.

>2. There should be some sort of consumer report group that evaluates and offers unbiased opinions as to the validity and competence of an instructor

This would involve a STANDARD to judge everyone on. There is no such thing at the moment and it would be hard to do. Also the pple involved would have to have a MA background (that would be like having a cook tell you what car to buy)it would be hard to get a totally UNBAISED veiw.


Xiao Ao Jiang Hu Zhi Dong Fang Bu Bai (Laughing Proud Warrior Invinsible Asia) Emporer of Baji!!! THE FIRST LINE OF DEFENSE AGAINST THE UNITED AUSSIE FRONT!!

Miguksaram
9/05/2002 4:57pm,
I agree with Asia that there can never really be a consumer group to provide a standard. How can an unbiased group be formed. They would have to have martial arts background to understand what martial arts was. That in its ownself would make the group biased. They have been trying to push laws to regulate martial art schools, but have not been able to for this reason.

Now and idea may be to have the school owner go through some certification classes such as emergency training (for injuries), or things of that matter.

Jeremy M. Talbott
http://www.homestead.com/koreanma/index.html
http://www.geocities.com/jns1994/MSA.html

aelius
9/06/2002 4:06am,
This is misrepresentation and fraud. The Gracies could be sued for this. They are video taped saying that GJJ is "Invincible" and "unbeatable" BUT there are instances where both have been proven wrong. If someone really had a stick up their butt they could make a good case of it.

Didn't realise that they had made such claims. I would suggest that they are treading on very thin ice. How can any one claim that any style is unbeatable?