Woman Held to Waiver Signed by Husband in California Health Club Case

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By Doyice Cotten

Sheila Brown joined 24 Hour on February 27, 2001, signing the 24 Hour Fitness USA, Inc. membership agreement containing a liability waiver.  She terminated her membership several months later; then, after a few months her son renewed her membership through his corporate membership. Her husband signed the club waiver on her behalf.

Two years later, Sheila tripped over a dumbbell that had been left on the floor and suffered injury. She filed suit against 24 Hour and claimed the waiver was unenforceable because she had not signed the waiver.

Illinois Drag Racing Waiver Upheld for Negligence — But not for Strict Liability

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By Doyice Cotten

David Jones, suffered permanent injuries in a drag-racing accident resulting from the failure of an added part during the performance of a wheelie. He filed this products liability action against UPR and numerous other entities alleged to have participated in the production or design of the Product, alleging negligence and strict liability (Jones v. UPR Products, Inc., 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 54887)

He had previously signed a Waiver of Liability Assumption of Risk and Indemnity Agreement.

Duration of Waivers: A 3 Part Series – Part 3

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Part 3

By Doyice Cotten

In a Massachusetts case (Borges v. Sterling Suffolk Racecourse, Inc., 2000), Israel Borges, a trainer, sustained injuries when he slipped due to ice on the ground and fell while on property at the Suffolk Downs Track owned and controlled by the defendants.

The defendants moved for summary judgment because Borges’ claim was barred by a waiver executed in a stall application. The pertinent part of the waiver stated:

Suffolk Downs,

Duration of Waivers: A 3 Part Series – Part 2

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Part 2

By Doyice Cotten

Nicholas Weinrish was injured while operating a go-kart on the defendant’s track (Weinrich V. Lehigh Valley Grand Prix Inc.,  2015). A piece of plastic covering a guardrail broke and protruded toward the track; plaintiff suffered an injury to his leg when he struck the plastic.

Weinrich had patronized the establishment six months earlier and had signed a waiver of liability at that time.

Duration of Waivers: A 3 Part Series — Part 1

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Part 1

By Doyice Cotten

Tariq Davis, a minor, was injured when he ran into the street and was struck by an auto while chasing a soccer ball (Davis v. American Youth Soccer Organization, Virgin Islands, 2016). The American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO) claimed protection from a waiver signed by a parent on behalf of the youth.

Courts in the Virgin Islands have stated that “an exculpatory clause which limits or absolves a party for its own ordinary negligence is generally enforceable, 

NJ Federal Court Addresses Several Waiver Issues:

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By Doyice Cotten

In a recent New Jersey case (Kang v. LA Fitness of South Plainfield, 2016), the court addressed several issues relating to waivers. Among them was 1) non-reader or speaker of English, 2) font size, 3) national association standards, 4) failure to read the waiver, 5) failure to explain the waiver, 6) failure to initial a provision of the waiver, and 7) contract of adhesion.

Ms Kang was injured while working out on the chin/dip assist pull-up machine.

Provider’s Cavalier Attitude toward Safety and Risk Management Proves Costly

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By Doyice Cotten  

Two major problems with liability waivers are that they are sometimes misunderstood and misused by owners or managers of sport businesses. First, some sport managers think that a liability waiver provides total protection against lawsuits for injury. They think they are completely protected against loss. But waivers do not always work! Sometimes there are statutes prohibiting their use (e.g., G.O.L 5-326 in NY prohibiting waivers when there is an entry fee). Sometimes the waiver is poorly written (e.g.,

Waivers and Volunteer Workers

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By Doyice Cotten

Certain types of special relationships can affect the enforceability of liability waivers. One such relationship is that between an employer and an employee – often referred to as the master-servant relationship.  Generally, waivers which employers require that their employees sign are unenforceable because of the economic hold that the employer has over the employee. Such waivers are generally deemed to be in violation of public policy.

In contrast, waivers between an employer and a volunteer worker are generally enforced.

A Good Approach to Electronic Waivers in New York State

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By Doyice Cotten

This electronic waiver case was discussed briefly a couple of weeks ago. Here it is examined in more detail.

A frequent question is “Are electronic waivers as good as paper waivers?” or “Are electronic waivers enforceable?” The answer seems to be “yes” for both questions. The writer has read electronic waivers in several states and has yet to find one that fails because it is electronic; in fact,

How Broad Should Your Waiver Be?

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By Doyice Cotten

Can a waiver fail to protect the service provider because it is too broad in scope?  YES.  Can a waiver fail to protect the service provider because it is not broad enough in scope?  YES. Where does the provider or the waiver writer go from here? One might answer “Make it as broad as you can without making it too broad . . . but, be sure you cover everything.” That doesn’t help much, does it?