IALDA Member: Donald Ornelas

Donald Ornelas

Agajanian, McFall, Weiss, Tetrault & Crist

346 N. Larchmont Blvd.
Los Angeles, California 90004
United States

Tel: (323) 993-0198

Fax: (323) 993-9509



Website: sportsriskcontrol.com

Blog: www.defendingsportsblog.com

Don’s practice focuses on sports and recreation, general and premises liability, government entity liability, business litigation and medical malpractice.  Don also regularly works on transactional projects.  In addition to his legal practice, Don is also a risk management consultant with Sports Risk Control, LLC, which creates customized turnkey risk management programs for sports facilities and organizations nationwide.  A frequent writer, speaker and consultant on risk management in the sports, leisure and entertainment industries, Don is an active member of the Roller Skating Association (RSA), the International Amusement and Leisure Defense Association (IALDA), and the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA).

 Recent cases include:

 In Purmort v. Tava Lanes, Don defended a Riverside bowling center against claims of premises liability and negligence.  He was successful in getting these claims dismissed pursuant to a motion for summary judgment, establishing that the plaintiff’s injuries, which arose out of a trip and fall incident in the facility’s lobby, were caused by an “open and obvious” condition.  As a matter of law, plaintiff could not recover for such injuries.

In De La Rosa v. Kern County School District, Don defended California-USA Wrestling against claims of premises liability and negligence.  Don was successful on his motion for summary judgment based upon assumption of risk, establishing that suffering a leg injury is an inherent risk in the sport of wrestling.  He also proved as a matter of law that his client did not possess, control or maintain the premises where the accident occurred.

In Dermenjyan v. Quantum Rock, Don convinced the court to dismiss the case against reality TV guru Mark Burnett Productions, the USA Television Networks, and two other clients.  In his motion for summary judgment, Don challenged the essential elements of each of the plaintiff’s claims, including general negligence, premises liability, and strict products liability.
Don has had similar victories in other cases, including obtaining summary judgment in favor of a health club facility for injuries arising out of a shooting and ensuing altercation that occurred in the club’s building.  Don adds, “We’ve also been very successful in the motorsports area, defending lawsuits brought by a participant in a race or by a spectator that gets injured.  We are almost always able to successfully defend the case and get our client dismissed based upon the waivers and releases that are signed or on the doctrine of assumption of the risk.”


Southwestern University, J.D
Recipient, CALI Excellence Award, Comparative Law
George A. Kraft Memorial Writing Award
Article of the Year, The Commentator
Nominee, National Law School Newspaper Writing Award, Feature Article Category
Legal Affairs Governor, Latino Law Students Association
Historian, Intellectual Property Society
Staff Writer, The Commentator
Member, Phi Alpha Delta Fraternity International

University of California at Los Angeles, B.A. History

Professional Activities

State Bar of California

Admitted to Practice:
U.S. District Court, Central District of California

Board of Directors:
West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame, Inc., 2009

Los Angeles County Bar Association

International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA)

International Amusement and Leisure Defense Association (IALDA)
Roller Skating Association (RSA)


“Safety First:  Making Internet Marketing Safe for Children and Skating Center Operators.” Roller Skating Business July/Aug 2010.

“Maintenance Toolbox:  Tools for keeping skating centers and skaters safe.”  Roller Skating Business

Nov/Dec 2009: 13-15.

“Taking Stock:  The dos and don’ts of downloading images from the Web.”  Roller Skating Business

July/Aug  2009: 12-14.

“Equipment Maintenance.” Club Industry’s Fitness Business Pro 10 August 2009.  Online at:  


“Putting Together Incident Reports.”  Club Industry’s Fitness Business Pro 11 May 2009.  Online at:


“Bruises, Breaks & Other Incidents.”  World Waterpark April 2009: 42-45.

“Conducting Incident Investigations.”  Club Industry’s Fitness Business Pro 10 April 2009.  Online at:


“Proper Use of Audiovisual Media:  Protect yourself and your skaters while promoting with videos and photographs.” Roller Skating Business March/April 2009: 21-23.

“Conducting Efficient Incident Investigations:  When the worst happens it’s important that skating centers have a plan in place.”  Roller Skating Business Jan/Feb 2009: 17-19.

“Always Be Prepared: Incident reports benefit skating center operators, insurance companies, and attorneys.” Roller Skating Business Nov/Dec 2008: 10-12.

“Incident Reports:  How and why to do them right.” IHRSA’s Club Business for Entrepreneurs Nov. 2008: 18-19.


IALDA Mock Trial.  73nd Annual Roller Skating Association Convention & Trade Show, Las Vegas, NV, April 2010.

RACE SAFE:  Risk Management Q & A and RACE SAFE:  Cary Agajanian Case Law Report.  37th Annual RPM Racing Promotion Monthly Workshop Series:  Reno, NV, Dec. 2009, and Daytona Beach, FL, Feb. 2010.

IALDA Legal and Legislative Roundtable.  IAAPA Attractions Expo, Las Vegas Convention Center, Las Vegas, NV, Nov. 2009.

IALDA’s Most Popular Theories of Liability & How to Defeat Them.  World Waterpark Association 29th Annual Symposium and Trade Show, Orlando, FL, Oct. 2009.

IALDA Presents:  How Not To Lose Cases- Free and Easy Solutions for Avoiding Common Litigation Headaches.  72nd Annual Roller Skating Association Convention & Trade Show, Las Vegas, NV, August 2009.

Legal Guardian’s Hour and Risky Business Q & A.  36th Annual RPM Racing Promotion Monthly Workshop Series:  Reno, NV, Dec. 2008, and Lake Mary, FL, Feb. 2009.