Tag Archives: assumption of risk

University Study-Abroad Student Drowned in Costa Rica

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By Doyice Cotten

Note: This is the third consecutive post (involving law in three states in three types of activity) in which assumption of risk has played a major role.

20-Year-old Erik Downes, college student at Oglethorpe University, drowned in the Pacific Ocean while he was in Costa Rica attending a study-abroad program. His parents brought a wrongful death suit against the university alleging negligence and gross negligence. Oglethorpe argued that 1) it owed no legal duty to Downes;

Assumption of Risk Determines Ruling in a Washington Tubing Case

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By Doyice Cotten

This case has some similarities to the Swigart v. Bruno California case in last week’s post.  Each case was determined by an assumption of risk and not by a waiver of liability.

Pellham participated in an inner tube float in which his tube struck a fallen log in the water. The plaintiff sued the rental company claiming that the defendants owed him a duty to warn about a fallen log in the river and for gross negligence (Pellham v.

A Waiver is not Always Necessary! Primary Assumption of Risk

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By Doyice Cotten

Kathleen Swigart entered a long distance horse riding event conducted by the American Endurance Ride Conference (AERC), a national governing and record-keeping body for “long distance horse riding.” An endurance ride is  “a highly competitive and demanding sport” in which the riders follow a specific course, collecting playing cards at set checkpoints along the route to verify having completed the entire course before crossing the finish line.

At the eight-mile checkpoint, seven horses were close together in a single line.

Very Broad Waiver Protects in Spite of Fact a Signed Waiver was not Produced

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 By Doyice Cotten

Theresa Brigance was injured at Vail while taking beginning skiing lessons. Vail claimed no liability on the basis of a required liability waiver. Brigance’s ski boot became wedged under the chair in the ski lift. Interestingly, Vail was unable to produce a signed waiver in court.(Brigance v. Vail Summit Resorts, Inc., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 5447)

Liability waivers sometimes fail because they are not broad enough to cover the circumstances of the incident;

Poorly Written New York Church Waiver Fails

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By Doyice Cotten

Panagiota Melis, a member of the Helenic Orthodox Church, slipped and fell on snow and ice in the Church’s parking lot after parking her vehicle. She filed suit against the church alleging negligence (Melis v. Helenic Orthodox Community, 2017 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 981).

The church claimed protection from a waiver and assumption of risk document signed previously by the plaintiff. The court ruled that General Obligations Law (“GOL”) 5-326 did not apply and did not serve to prevent the enforcement of the waiver because the church was not a place of amusement or recreation.

2016 Health Club Cases in New York — No Waivers

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By Doyice Cotten

Injuries occurring in health clubs in the State of New York can be problematic for club owners since protection against liability for negligence is ineffective in many circumstances – one being in places of amusement or recreation.  New York statute G.O.L. Sec. 5-326, passed in 1976, deems waivers void as against public policy under specific circumstances.  Specifically, the law provides:

[e]very covenant, agreement or understanding in or in connection with, or collateral to,

Strengthen Assumption of Risk: Documentation of Notification of Warnings

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I recently received an email from James Hellwege regarding risk management efforts of a provider in relation to the assumption of risks by the participants. It is encouraging when providers  take positive steps 1) to inform participants of the risks of an activity and 2) to document their actions with accuracy. The note is presented in its entirety below. DJC

 
By James Hellwege

Doyice:
I recently came across this blog entry of yours regarding pre-activity instruction by vendors in relation to assumption of the risk by participants:

http://www.sportwaiver.com/an-effective-warning-of-risk-technique
Some thoughts for your consideration on this topic.

For Protection under Assumption of Risk: Injured Party MUST Have Known the Risks!!!

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By Doyice Cotten
One of the most commonly used defenses when someone is injured in a recreational activity is that the participant assumed the risks. While the law varies somewhat from state to state, it is generally an effective defense when the provider has not been negligent.

In a recent Pennsylvania case M.D. v. Ski Shawnee, Inc. (2015), a nine year old novice skier on an elementary school ski trip was injured when she collided with a snowmaking machine on the slope.

Poor Waiver Construction & Reckless Conduct Result in Texas Waiver Failure

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By Doyice Cotten

Two couples, the Beckmans and the Jaegers, were injured while participating in a commercial jeep tour of a ranch (Jaeger v. Hartley, 2013 Tex. App. LEXIS 613). The ranch driver became aware that the Jeep’s brakes were not working during the tour. He radioed for some brake fluid, but when it arrived no fluid was added. The driver instructed the guests to get back in the jeep and continued the tour.