Tag Archives: Pennsylvania

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.

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.,

Understanding Pennsylvania Waiver Law

By Doyice Cotten

Evans v. Fitness & Sports Club, LLC., 2016). This week we will look at Pennsylvania law and the ruling in the previous case. To review the facts:

On November 12, 2014, Patricia Evans was participating in a personal training session at LA Fitness with personal trainer Brandon McElwee. During the session, McElwee directed Evans to perform “suicide runs,” an activity that required Evans to repeatedly run forward to a weight and touch it and then run backward to the start line.

Upper Case Print and Waiver Readability

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By Doyice Cotten

The term “meeting of the minds” is often used in regard to contracts. This is often used to describe the mutual intentions of the parties forming the contract and is often considered a necessary requirement to the formation of a contract.  Many things can go into ensuring a “meeting of the minds,” one of which is to have an understandable and readable contract.

Many things can contribute to such a contract. Contributing factors often listed include use of subheads,

Two Waiver Tips from a Pennsylvania Court

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By Doyice Cotten

In a 2016 Pennsylvania health club case (Hinkal v. Gavin Pardoe & Gold’s Gym, Inc., 2016 Pa. Super. LEXIS 32), the Superior Court upheld a lower court ruling that the waiver in the gym membership agreement was valid and enforceable.

The issues considered in the appeal were:

  1. Whether the six day trial period had expired prior to the injury.
  2. Whether the waiver on the back page of the Membership Agreement is valid and enforceable.

Make Certain your Waiver Protects You against Your own Negligence!

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By Doyice Cotten

Roseann Jablanofsky died in an accident while taking a motorcycle safety training program. She wanted to be able to accompany her husband on motorcycle rides.

Prior to the course, she signed a waiver of liability; the course included classroom instruction and riding practice in a parking lot. In addition, the class was shown a video that warned of the risks associated with operating a motorcycle, and all participants were verbally warned.

At one point during the riding class,

When an Adult Participant Signs a Waiver Written for Minors — Is the Waiver Enforceable?

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By Doyice Cotten

In this case (Belliconish v. Fun Slides Carpet Skate Park, Inc., 2014 Pa. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 349), Mr. Belliconish took his family to an indoor skate park. He signed waivers on behalf of himself and his family. Fun Slides uses two waivers – one for adult participants and one for minor participants. Belliconish was inadvertently given a minor waiver which he signed.

After about an hour of skating, Belliconish fell,

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.

Go-Kart Waiver Fails Because it Failed to Specify the Duration of the Waiver

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By Doyice Cotten

Nicholas Weinrich was injured in a go-kart race when he collided with a protruding section of the guardrail. Weinrich was not required to sign a pre-race waiver because he had signed one at a race six months earlier (Weinrich v. Lehigh Valley Grand Prix Inc., 2015). A primary issue in the case was whether the previous waiver was still in force – in other words, “What was the duration of the waiver?”

Problem with Waiver Contained Within Membership Agreement

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By Doyice Cotten

In Hinkal v. Gavin Pardoe & Gold’s Gym (2015), Melinda Hinkal was injured while a client of a Pennsylvania health club. She had signed a membership agreement containing a waiver of liability. While working with a personal trainer, she suffered a back injury and filed a negligence claim.

The major issue in the case was whether the waiver language was sufficiently conspicuous to be enforceable.

The Agreement

The Gold’s Gym membership agreement is printed on a single,