Tag Archives: Michigan

Is the Business Liable for Falls in the Parking Lot?

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By Doyice Cotten

Jade Kindermann was carrying her 22-month old son when she tripped over uneven pavement in the parking lot of the Lifetime Fitness Center (LTF Club Operations Company). Jade was unhurt, but her son suffered serious injuries when she landed on him. Jade sued the owner of the facility on her son’s behalf, alleging negligence and premises liability under state law.

Business owners sometimes forget that they may be held liable for injuries occurring on their sidewalks,

Check Your LIABILITY IQ: Was it Ordinary Negligence or Gross Negligence in Climbing Wall Case?

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By Doyice Cotten

In a Michigan rock wall climbing injury case (Alvarez v. LTF Club Operations Company Inc., 2016), the plaintiff had climbed the wall and started to belay down when his harness broke because he had it on backwards and incorrectly hooked to the belay system. He fell from the wall and was seriously injured. Subsequently, he filed suit claiming the waiver of liability of ordinary negligence he signed was not applicable because LTF was guilty of gross negligence.

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.

You Be the Judge – Test your Liability Knowledge

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By Doyice Cotten

Occasionally, we offer the reader an opportunity to test his or her liability judgment. Take a few minutes and check this waiver and see if you think it protected the defendant health club from liability for negligence (Hoffner v. Fitness Xpress, 2016).

Situation

Charlotte Hoffner had been a member of Fitness Xpress, a health club in Michigan, for about two weeks when she slipped and fell on ice on the sidewalk in front of the club.

Sport Safety Statutes Can Affect the Effectiveness of Liability Waivers

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By Doyice Cotten

Most states have enacted at least one of what are sometimes called sport safety acts or shared responsibility statutes (e.g., equine, ski, whitewater rafting) intended to define or limit the liability exposure of operators of selected activities.

Some of these statutes hold the operator to a duty of ordinary care. When they do, a waiver cannot protect the operator in the event of ordinary negligence. Other statutes prescribe a list of specific duties of the operator.

Michigan Waiver Case Examines Ordinary vs. Gross Negligence When the Steering Wheel Comes Off a Racecar

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By Doyice Cotten

Michigan courts have consistently ruled that a liability waiver can insulate a defendant against ordinary negligence. Likewise they have on many occasions held that such a release cannot protect a party against gross negligence or willful and wanton misconduct. In Gonzalez v. Rusty Wallace Racing Experience (2015 Mich. App. LEXIS 25), the Court of Appeals of Michigan considered the enforceability of two waivers signed by a plaintiff prior to engaging in the Racing Experience.

Michigan “Warrior Dash” Waiver Protects Against Negligence (But Not Gross Negligence or W/W Misconduct)

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By Doyice Cotten

This is the first case encountered by the author that has resulted from one of the popular adventure-obstacle races such as Spartan Race and Tough Mudder. Here, the waiver used for Warrior Dash is challenged.

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In July 2011, James Sa participated in a two-day event known as the “Warrior Dash” which is a 5k running race with obstacles, including jumping over fire, wall climbing,

Good Waivers Fail; Bad Waivers Protect — SOMETIMES

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By Doyice Cotten

In Waivers & Releases of Liability (7th ed.), this author devotes two entire chapters (More than 50 pages) to how to write an effective waiver. One can construct a great waiver by following the guidelines presented. However, waivers don’t always work as expected. In case law we find that some very poor waivers successfully protect the provider, and we find that on occasion, very good waivers fail to protect for one reason or another. In this article,

Updating Parental Waiver Law — Part I

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By Doyice Cotten

Several court rulings as well as a new statute have affected the parental waiver landscape recently. The purpose of this two-part article is to bring you up-to-date on changes in the law. Three states are discussed below and Alabama, Texas, and Pennsylvania will be covered next week. Parental waiver law for all states is covered in depth in Waivers & Releases of Liability, 7th ed.

Iowa

The Iowa Supreme Court has recently clarified parental waiver law in Iowa (Galloway v.