Third Rock Holiday Park

The Third Rock Holiday Park is a case study involving various legal issues, which vary quite dramatically. This case study enables an in depth study of a wide range of contracts, their relevance and implications.

I have structured my analysis by discussing the three fundamental problems highlighted in the article. These include a tender for a proposal to build a nightclub, the sale of a Sarong and Dingy and an accident on the premises, which leads to a question of liability for injury and damages.

Within each issue I have discussed the circumstances of the events, with the appropriate legal issues, comparing relevant cases and quoting relevant legislation. Also included, are the implications that this area of law could have for the company or its clients. A conclusion provides future recommendations for the company.

Third Rock entertainment hall

An invitation to tender from third Rock, asked four firms to put forward a proposal by 12 noon on the 30th of August 1999 and two companies replied within the deadline. The first proposal was from Saturn Ltd and the second was from Venus Ltd, although initially the proposal from Venus Ltd, went unnoticed, it was still delivered before the deadline. By adopting a formal tendering procedure, Third Rock were obliged to consider and respond to each proposal that was delivered before the deadline Blackpool and Fylde Aero Club Ltd v Blackpool Council. If the proposal from Venus Ltd, was therefore not taken into consideration, they could be entitled to damages for breech of contract.

The proposal from Saturn consisted of a promise to build the entertainment hall within three months for �105,000, or for �5000 less than any other building firm. A referential bid would be considered invalid as it could be held that should both companies have supplied such a proposal, no contract could be formed Harvela Investments Ltd v Royal Trust Co of Canada (1985).

The proposal from Saturn Ltd, requested a reply by return of post, this did not stipulate a “notice” of the acceptance, and the postal rules would therefore apply. The implications of this would be that the letter of acceptance is effective at the time and date of posting. However, this is only when the letter is correctly stamped, addressed and posted. The acceptance from Third Rock was incorrectly addressed and therefore did not reach the destination until a week later. It is because of the incorrect address, that no contract was formed and Saturn Ltd was not obliged to complete the work for Third Rock.

The contract still remaining is therefore with Venus ltd, as Third Rock are still liable to consider Venus Ltd for the project. Saturn Ltd and Third Rock have no contract between them as the letter of acceptance was incorrectly addressed.

Souvenir Shop

Both the sarong and the dingy sold in the souvenir shop were sold by Third Rock Holiday Park. The contract for both items is therefore between the person who purchased each item and Third Rock Holiday Park.

The dingy, sold on the premises of the holiday park is for use on a swimming pool only. This was reinforced by the statement from the shop assistant, who claimed that this was due to the fact that the dingy was only plastic. The buyer informed the assistant of his intensions and ignored the advice given using the statement from the manufacturer that stated “suitable for all water conditions”. The dingy is of satisfactory quality and is fit for the purpose of swimming pool use. The buyer ignored the advice given and used the dingy on the sea which is a use which was not seen to be suitable and would therefore not be liable for a refund, or to claim compensation of any kind Sale and supply of goods act 1994 section 14 (2).

The sarong, purchased by Mary also created an issue as the colour ran after she had been bathing and as a result, part of her designer white swimsuit had turned a reddish orange. A sarong is viewed as beachwear and the colour is therefore be not expected to run should this become wet. Due to this, the sarong would not be considered fit for use of the purpose in which it is commonly supplied Sale and supply of goods act 1994 section 14 (2B). Mary would therefore be liable for compensation as her reasonable expectations of her purchase had not been met Rogers v Parish (Scarborough) Ltd (1997).

Although Mary would be able to take action against Third Rock Holiday Park, they in turn would be able to claim from their supplier. The recommended procedure in this case would be to reimburse Mary with the cost of the sarong and the cost of the ruined swimsuit. This would prevent any timely court proceedings and reduce negative media towards Third Rock, who could then claim from their supplier. It would also be advisable to change this supplier and maybe return to the original supplier. If the customer still proves unhappy due to the inconvenience suffered, it may also be a possibility to consider other options such as a night extra at the holiday park for free. This would usually be seen as reasonable compensation.

Liability for injury and loss

The sign on the premises of the swimming pool was badly corroded and there was a statement on the ticket, which provided access to the lockers. Although these statements may be relevant in certain circumstances, the outcome would depend on the situation, which caused loss, injury or damage. For example, should a person not comply with rules (e.g. running) and suffer injury as a result, Third Rock would then not be liable for this. However in this particular situation the cause of loss and injury was due to a collapsing slide, and Third Rock are obliged to provide facilities that are safe and provide services with care and skill Goods and Services Act 1983 (s 13).

The collapsing slide was a result of negligence on he part of Third Rock and both the notice and the ticket would be viewed as unreasonable and would be considered void as a person is not able to exclude his liability in this way Unfair Contract Terms Act (s 2). In addition it may also be noted that Third Rock supply this service as their main business and they should therefore be in the best position to assess the risk and provide themselves with appropriate insurance cover Phillips Products v Hyland [1987].

Although it is also stated that children under the age of 8 are only allowed to use the slide under the supervision of an adult, both children were under that age and unsupervised. This however should not affect a claim against Third Rock as it is likely to have occurred irrespective of the ages. This would only have relevance, had an accident occurred due to the age, which may be tied to the size and weight (e.g. a child drowning because they were too young/small and the water was too deep at the end of the slide). The accident in this case was not relevant to the ages and therefore bears no relevance.

The fact that Maria has little understanding of the English language also bears no relevance as her husband, and both her children do. Maria is expected to understand the terms of Third Rock, which could have been explained to her by her family, and it is not the responsibility of Third Rock to ensure all users understand the English language. The terms are (in respect to language) compliant with British law and residents are expected to comply with the laws of the country in which they are visiting or living in Wilson v Best Travel Ltd (1993). However, due to the fact that Third Rock frequently receives visits from people who may not have a clear understanding of the English language, it may be advisable to translate the sign and card into several commonly spoken languages and display all of those. This may ensure that no misunderstandings could occur in the future.

Due to the fact that the accident occurred as a result of negligence on the part of Third Rock, it would be held that Maria would be able to claim for injury and damages of her CD Player. It would be recommended to carry out regular safety checks of all equipment in future and to keep an accurate record and to regularly paint the sign to avoid deterioration through corrosion from the sea air.

Improving for the future

Although it is no longer possible to amend what has already occurred, it would be advisable to make relevant improvements, to prevent the reoccurrence of such situations in the future, and improve upon the way in which Third Rock functions. Excluding the suggestions previously made in this report a number of additional changes could be made.

The most important issue is that of health and safety and it is of great importance that Third Rock performs regular checks of the equipment. An external contractor, who specialises in that field, could do this and by creating a record of checks, it would ensure that the safety of the guests is a priority, prevent further accidents and if an accident should occur in the future, The chain of responsibility would no longer end at the liability of Third Rock, as it would be the responsibility of the sub-contractor.

It would also be advisable to use a solicitor as a point of contact, when dealing with contracts, this would avoid the disappointment which has been experienced and ensure that issues are dealt with efficiently and effectively.