Delaware Court Enforces Motocross Parental Waiver for Negligence but Not for Recklessness

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By Doyice Cotten

 

In 2013, Tommy Lynam (age 13), was riding a motocross bicycle at Blue Diamond Motocross near New Castle. While riding, Tommy rode off a jump, made a hard landing, and was unable to stop in time before colliding with a large metal shipping container. Lynam sued alleging negligence and recklessness (Lynam v. Blue Diamond Motocross LLC, 2016).

 

Lynam’s father had signed a waiver entitled “Parental Consent, Release and Waiver of Liability,

Parental Waiver Fails to Protect in Oklahoma

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By Doyice Cotten

Makenzie Wethington, sixteen years-old, wanted to learn to skydive (Wethington v. Swainson, 2015). She and her parents, went to Pegasus Airsport Center to learn how. She and her parents signed a waiver of liability as part of the registration process. She underwent an instruction course that included determining the condition of the parachute after deployment, gaining control and resolving any deployment problems and, if necessary, activating her emergency parachute.

Parental Waiver Ambiguity Caused by Failure to Specify that Both Parent’s and Minor’s Rights Are Waived

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By Doyice Cotten

In a 2013 California case (Vahedy v. Remigio), a 16 year-old camper was injured while being transported by a camp volunteer back to the Jews for Jesus headquarters for the final night of the camp. Cecilia Vahedy’s father had signed a “Medical Authorization and Liaibilty Release.” There were a number of issues in the case, but the one addressed in this post regards the possible ambiguity created when the waiver fails to clearly specify that the parent is waiving both the parent’s and the minor participant’s right to sue.

First Parental Waiver Enforced in North Carolina

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By Doyice Cotten

In Kelly v. United States of America (2014), the first parental waiver was enforced in North Carolina by a U.S. District Court. Morgan Kelly, a 15-year-old girl, was a cadet in the JROTC program at her high school. She attended a JROTC orientation visit to a United States Marine Corps Base after one of her parents signed a waiver of liability on her behalf. She was injured and this suit was filed.

Mississippi Parental Waiver Law

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By Doyice Cotten

Many businesses and organizations, like Mississippi State University, require parents to sign a liability waiver on behalf of their minor child or children. However, Mississippi law on the enforceability of such waivers is unclear.

The Mississippi Supreme Court stated in Khoury v. Saik (1948) that “It is well settled that the infant can waive none of his rights.”  It went on to say “Minors can waive nothing. In the law they are helpless,

Oregon Addresses a Parental Waiver for the First Time

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By Doyice Cotten

Prior to this case, Oregon was one of about 20 states in which the courts had not ruled on the enforceability of parental waivers in a recreational setting. In Bagley v. Mt. Bachelor, Inc. (2013), Myles Bagley’s father signed a waiver and indemnity agreement on behalf of his son so that the 17 year-old, an expert snowboarder, could purchase a season pass to Mt. Bachelor. The waiver was signed two weeks before Myles’ 18th birthday.

Connecticut, California, and North Dakota Courts Address Parental Waivers

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By Doyice Cotten

Recent 2013 cases in Connecticut, California, and North Dakota have addressed the question as to whether parents have the authority to sign away the rights of a minor to recover for injury resulting from the negligence of the provider.

California Case

Lotz v. The Claremont Club (2013 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 5748) involved a 10 year-old who was injured in a dodgeball game. It is well established that California law allows the enforcement of parental waivers provided the waiver is unambiguous and meets court requirements.

Colorado Parental Waiver Statute Applied by Courts

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By Doyice Cotten

In 2003, the Colorado legislature passed a statute providing that parents have the authority to contract, on behalf of their child, to relieve a provider from liability for its negligence in the event the child is injured during participation (C.R.S. 13-27-107 (2003). Among other things the statute provides

(IV) Parents make conscious choices every day on behalf of their children concerning the risks and benefits of participation in activities that may involve risk;

Revised State Update on Enforcement of Parental Waivers

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By Doyice Cotten

 In September, we ran an article showing which states currently enforce parental waivers. The next week we were told of two recent cases dealing with the subject and in the process of searching for them, found a total of three new relevant cases from three separate states – Maryland, Indiana, and Delaware. Two of the courts enforced the waiver while one did not. We have since posted a summary of each case and this post is a revision of the September summary.