Electronic or Online Waivers: How Good Are They?

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By Doyice Cotten

 The preferred form of waiver usage in recreation and sport businesses is quickly becoming electronic (waiver available on a computer, tablet, or online). I am asked whether electronic waivers are as valid and effective as paper waivers.  Today, such waivers are in widespread use and there is no question as to their validity. This writer has found no cases in which a waiver has failed simply because it was not a paper waiver.

Online Waiver Agreements: Not Worth the Paper They’re (Not) Written On?

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This article by Alexander “Sandie” Pendleton addresses some of the concerns regarding the validity of online waivers. Mr Pendleton is with Kohner, Mann, and Kailis of Milwaukee.

Do courts enforce waiver agreements that are entered into electronically, for instance, via an online registration process? Or instead, will courts only find an agreement enforceable if the agreement is printed on a real piece of paper and signed in ink in the traditional manner?

The above questions raise a host of issues.

Online Waivers/Electronic Signatures in NY

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In a 2008 case (Stephenson v. Food Bank for New York City), Devone Stephenson alleged that the league was negligent in its supervision, operation, and control of the basketball game in which he was injured. Stephenson suffered a broken jaw when an opponent suddenly punched him in the face. Stephenson alleged that there was rough play, taunting, and “trash talk” throughout the game even though his team captain asked the referees to clean up the game.

Wife Signs Waiver for Husband – Is it Enforceable?

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By Doyice Cotten

Families often visit recreational facilities and are required to sign waivers of liability in order to participate. Sometimes the father signs on behalf of the wife; sometimes the wife signs on behalf of the husband. The question is “Are these waivers enforceable against the non-signer. Most businesses require the signature of both – which is the obviously best policy. But, if for some reason one signs the other spouse’s name on the waiver, is that waiver enforceable?

State Parental Waiver Law Summarized — Part VIII

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By Doyice Cotten

This is the eighth of an eight-part series on the enforcement of parental waivers.

As you should have surmised from the previous posts, parental waiver law varies by state. One law that remains the same in all states is that a contract signed only by the minor is unenforceable and non-binding, with a few possible exceptions (e.g., for necessities, when emancipated, when approved by the court).

I mentioned in an earlier post that prior to 1990,

WAIVERS FOR MINOR PARTICIPANTS: More States with Likely Enforcement of Commercial and Non-Profit Entities — Part VII

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By Doyice Cotten

This is the seventh of an eight-part series on the enforceability of liability waivers of negligence when the sport or recreation participant is a minor.

Last week, three states were discussed in which the enforcement of parental waivers is very likely. Three more states are discussed in this post. Parental waivers are likely to be enforced in each.

Indiana

A 2012 state appellate court (Wabash County Young Men’s Christian Association v.

WAIVERS FOR MINOR PARTICIPANTS: States with Likely Enforcement of Commercial and Non-Profit Entities — Part VI

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By Doyice Cotten

This is the sixth of an eight-part series on the enforceability of liability waivers of negligence when the sport or recreation participant is a minor.

Three states will be discussed in this post. Courts in each state enforce parental waivers utilized by both commercial and  non-profit entities. In the seventh post next week, three more states will be addressed. Parental waivers are likely to be enforced in each.

California

California was the first state in which the courts enforced a parental waiver.

WAIVERS FOR MINOR PARTICIPANTS: States Enforcing Only School-Community Recreation Waivers — Part V

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By Doyice Cotten

This is the fifth of an eight-part series on the enforceability of liability waivers of negligence when the sport or recreation participant is a minor.

As discussed in a previous post, some states distinguish parental waivers utilized by commercial entities from parental waivers relied upon by schools and community recreation entities.

Florida

Florida, too, was mentioned in an earlier post in regard to F.S. 744.301 [2017] which established the enforceability of parental waivers of the inherent risks of the activity;

WAIVERS FOR MINOR PARTICIPANTS: Enforced in the Past but Unlikely in the Future — Part IV

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By Doyice Cotten

This is the fourth of an eight-part series on the enforceability of liability waivers of negligence when the sport or recreation participant is a minor.

Parental waiver law in three states will be addressed in this post. Parental waivers have been enforced by appellate courts on several occasions in the past in two of the states (Connecticut and Wisconsin) and by a U.S. District Court in New York.

WAIVERS FOR MINOR PARTICIPANTS: Broad Statutes Relating to Enforcement of Parental Waivers — Part III

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By Doyice Cotten

This is the third of an eight-part series on the enforceability of liability waivers of negligence when the sport or recreation participant is a minor.

 

Statutes Allowing Parental Waivers for Negligence

Three states have statutes that specifically state that parental waivers are enforceable under certain circumstances. These are Alaska, Colorado, and Minnesota.

Alaska

A.S. 09.65-292 [2012] provides the following:

(a) Except as provided in (b) of this section,