Charles F. Gfeller
Charles F. Gfeller practices primarily in the areas of complex civil and commercial litigation, products liability, and risk management. While you won't find him signing autographs, Charlie can be called a sports professional. He is an avid skier and former hockey player who represents and/or has represented several ski areas, ice arenas, National Hockey League teams and facilities, zip line operators, marine-based recreational operators, fitness centers, other recreational facilities, and manufacturers of recreational products, providing both risk management and litigation services. In the products liability arena, his experience includes matters involving the ski / snowboard industry, recreational products industry, the automotive industry, manufacturing processes, as well as other areas.
Charlie manages and personally handles the litigation for several national insurance programs, which insure sports and recreational facilities and operators, such as ice arenas, auto race tracks, parasail and jet ski operators, and fitness centers. In fact, Charlie has played an integral role in launching some of their programs, by working with insurance brokers and both domestic and London-based insurers.
Charlie has tried numerous cases (jury and courtside) in both state and federal courts across the United States, and he has argued before the Connecticut Appellate Court. He regularly participates in arbitrations, mediations, and other alternative dispute resolution proceedings on a national basis. He advises companies regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, the Federal Trade Commission, and the Consumer Products Safety Commission regarding product compliance, safety issues, advertising and collateral material reviews, and he has defended audits and agency investigations. Charlie has a broad range of experience in creating standard operating procedures for these types of companies.
Charlie is regularly invited to publish and speak, both nationally and internationally, on various subjects involving sports and recreational liability, risk management and products liability.
- Recreational/Sports Risk Management and Litigation
- Recreational Product Liability - Risk Management and Litigation
- Product Liability Litigation
- Complex Civil Litigation
- Commercial Litigation
- Insurance Coverage Litigation
- Franklin & Marshall College, B.A.
- Widener University, School of Law, J.D.
Admitted to Practice
- New York
- United States District Court, Northern District of New York
- United States District Court, Southern District of New York
- United States District Court, Connecticut
- United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit
- Association of Ski Defense Attorneys
- National Ski Areas Association
- Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association
- International Society for Skiing Safety
- ASTM International, Member of F27 (Snow Skiing) and F08 Committees (Sports Equipment & Facilities)
- Sports Lawyers Association
- Risk and Insurance Management Society
- Defense Research Institute
- Self Insured Institute of America
- Connecticut Bar Association
- New York State Bar Association
- Texas Bar Association
- Pennsylvania Bar Association
- Named to Connecticut Rising Stars, New England Super Lawyers Magazine, 2009.
- Named to Connecticut Super Lawyers, 2006.
- Author, “Need for Equipment, But No Need to Use It,” Insurance Day, March 7, 2013. (PDF)
- Co-Author, “Will Sovereign Immunity Continue to Protect Municipalities, Public Schools, and Public Employees from Athletic Liability?” Sports Litigation Alert, February 8, 2013. (PDF)
- Co-Author, “Will Sovereign Immunity Continue to Protect Municipalities, Public Schools, and Public Employees from Athletic Liability?” Concussion Litigation Reporter, February, 2013. (PDF)
- Speaker, “Sovereign Immunity for Secondary School Athletics – Will It Protect You?,” Youth Sports Safety Summit, Washington, D.C., February 5, 2013. See National Action Plan for Sports Safety attached hereto. (PDF)
- Author, “Mass Shootings in the US: Sports Facilities Programmes Be Ready,” Insurance Day, January 24, 2013. (PDF)
- Speaker, "Benefiting from Youth Athletics While Limiting The Risks," Texas Public Risk Management Association 2012 Annual Conference, Frisco, TX, November 13, 2012.
- Co-Author, “Let it Snow! Warmer Winters Have Increased Demand Among Ski Resorts for Weather-Related Insurance,” Insurance Day, October 18, 2012. (PDF)
- Co-Author, "Data Breach Insurance - A Must for Resorts," Insurance Day, October 4, 2012. (PDF)
- Speaker, "Benefiting from Youth Athletics While Limiting The Risks," Public Risk Management Association 2012 Annual Conference, Nashville, TN, June 6, 2012.
- Author, "Solving the AED Dilemma," Rink Magazine, May/June 2012. (PDF)
- Author, "Head Injuries in Youth Football - What is the Future of the Sport?," Sports Litigation Alert, April 5, 2012. (PDF)
- Co-Author, “ Traumatic Brain Injuries and Youth Athletics – What Do You Need to Know?,” Sports Litigation Alert and Concussion Policy and the Law, November 4, 2011.
- Ski Area Management Magazine’s Summer Ops Camp, 2011: Speaker on risk management issues related to ski area summer operations, Jiminy Peak Mountain Resort, Hancock, MA, October 5, 2011.
- Co-Author, "Traumatic Brain Injuries and Young Athletics -- What Do Ski Area Operators Need to Know?" National Ski Areas Association Risk Management Bulletin, August/September 2011. (PDF)
- Co-Author, "Traumatic Brain Injuries and Youth Athletics: A Risk Management Guide," white paper, July 2011. (available upon request)
- Speaker, “Understanding the United States Legal System and Managing Risk – A Guide for Manufacturers and Product Distributors,” Self-Insurance Institute of America International Conference, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, June 8, 2011.
- Ski Area Management Magazine's Cutter's Camp West - 2011: Speaker on ski area risk management issues, Timberline Lodge, Mt. Hood, Oregon, May 10, 2011.
- Co-Author, "Effective Enterprise Risk Management Enhances Corporate Responsibility & Profitability," The Self-Insurer, April 2011. (PDF)
- Ski Area Management Magazine’s Cutter’s Camp-2011: Speaker on ski area risk management issues, Mount Snow, Vermont, April 5, 2011.
- Author, "Slips at Public Skating – Use Caution with Walkers on Ice," Rink Magazine, January/February, 2011. (PDF)
- Co-Author, "In Defense of Terrain Parks," Ski Area Management Magazine, January, 2011. (PDF)
- Speaker, "Terrain Park Safety," National Ski Areas Association Winter Meeting, Snowbird, Utah, January 18-20, 2011.
- Author, “Drop the Hammer: Transfer the Risk,” Rink Magazine, July/August, 2010. (PDF)
- Ski Area Management Magazine’s Cutter’s Camp-2010: Speaker on ski area risk management issues, Mount Snow, Vermont, April 7, 2010.
- World Waterpark Association’s 29th Annual Symposium & Trade Show, presenter on risk management and liability issues, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida, October 23, 2009.
- Ski Area Management Magazine’s Cutter’s Camp-2009: Speaker on ski area risk management issues, Mount Snow, Vermont, April 6- 7, 2009.
- Snowsports Industries of America, 2009 Annual Meeting and Tradeshow, presenter on risk management and product liability issues, Las Vegas, Nevada, January 27-29, 2009.
- Author, “Policing the Rink – Using ‘Off-Duty’ Police Officers as Security Guards,” Rink Magazine, September/October, 2008. (PDF)
- Author, “Kill ‘Em with Kindness - Well-Trained, Friendly Employees are the Foot Soldiers of Risk Management,” Rink Magazine, January/February, 2008. (PDF)
- Author, “Personal Responsibility and Proper Signage - A First Line of Defense,” Rink Magazine, September/October, 2007. (PDF)
- Resort Hotels Association Annual Meeting, speaker on risk management and liability issues in the recreational and resort industries, Skytop, Pennsylvania, July 14-17, 2007.
- Author, “Adult Hockey Leagues - Fertile Ground for Litigation,” author, Rink Magazine, May/June, 2007. (PDF)
- New Hampshire CPCU Winter Meeting, speaker on risk management in the ski industry, Loon Mountain, New Hampshire, February 5, 2007.
- “Product Liability Desk Reference: A Fifty-State Compendium, 2006, 2007 Editions,” Contributing Editor, Connecticut.
- “National Hockey League Facilities Conference,” speaker on risk management and liability issues, Scottsdale, Arizona, March 2, 2006.
- Speaker, “Litigation and Legal Risk Management, Doing Business in the US Seminar,” sponsored by Association of British Healthcare Industries, London, United Kingdom, October 18, 2005.
- Speaker, “Ethics Crisis in the Insurance Industry Seminar,” sponsored by the Professional Liability Underwriters Society, Hartford, Connecticut, October 12, 2005.
- Panelist, “Current Trends/Activities in Ski Area Liability Legislation,” National Ski Areas Association, Winter Meeting, February 2005.
- Co-Author, “The Ten (Common Sense) Commandments To Risk Management of Terrain Parks & Features,” Fall 2004.
- Co-Author, “Labeling and New Dietary Ingredients - Use Caution!” Fall 2004.
- Co-Author, “E&O Policies and Professional Services,” Professional Liability Underwriting Society Journal, April 2004.
- Speaker, “Fundamentals of Insurance Law in Connecticut,” Hartford, Connecticut, December 9, 2003.
- Corporator, St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center, Hartford, CT
- Board of Directors, St. Francis Foundation
- Coach, West Hartford Youth Hockey League