How Ambiguous Language Can Cause a Waiver to Fail

By Doyice Cotten

A waiver of liability is a contract intended to relieve a service provider from liability for injuries resulting from the negligence of the provider. Such waivers are enforceable in at least 45 states providing they meet certain requisites. A major requirement in all states is that the waiver must be clear and unambiguous to be enforceable. Some examples of requirements regarding language include 1) A clear and unambiguous contract must be enforced… 2) Language must be unambiguous,

“Anguish” Failed to be an Effective Substitute for “Negligence” in Ohio Case

By Doyice Cotten

Beatrice Oliveri, was given two free sessions to work out at OsteoStrong. She suffered from osteoporosis and her doctor advised her to be careful. She completed a wellness assessment and signed the following waiver of liability:

I am physically capable of participating in an exercise program or the OsteoStrong system. I have either received permission from my doctor to perform the exercise and the OsteoStrong system or I decided to participate in the OsteoStrong program without consulting my physician and I assume all responsibilities for my decision to engage in the OsteoStrong program.

Unsigned Waiver on Lift Ticket Enforced in Colorado

By Doyice Cotten

The enforceability of waivers on the back of tickets is sometimes in question, depending upon the state involved. There are times when such waivers are enforced. One certainly can’t say they are never enforced, however, it is probably safe to say that such unsigned waivers are less likely to be enforced than are signed waivers.

Redden v. Clear Creek Skiing Corporation (2020), a Colorado case, involved a ski-lift injury in which a signed liability waiver and an unsigned waiver on a ski lift ticket were tested.

Triathlon Contract Specifying “No Refunds” Upheld in Florida Court

By Doyice Cotten

Mikaela Ellenwood and Jorge Casanova sued World Triathlon Corporation, Competitor Group Holdings, Incorporated, and Competitor Group, Inc. for failing to provide refunds for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series races and Ironman events that were scheduled to take place in 2020 but were postponed or cancelled due to the global Covid-19 pandemic. They claim breach of contract, unjust enrichment, and violation of the  Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act. (Ellenwood v. World Triathlon Corporation,

Help in Recognizing Ambiguity in Your Waiver

By Doyice Cotten

Ambiguity is one of the most prevalent claims when challenging the enforceability of liability waivers. This post involves a case in which a waiver is claimed to be ambiguous. We focus on the arguments by the plaintiff and the reasoning of the court in addressing the issue.

Jodi Sheldon suffered serious injury while participating in a high ropes course at the Golden Bell Ranch in Colorado. She sued claiming negligence naming Golden Bell,

Flag Football Waiver Effectiveness Depends on GOL 5-326 Ruling: Was a Fee Paid?

Marc injured his left foot in October, 2015, while playing in a League flag football game (Marc v Middle Country Ctr. Sch. Dist. 2017 NY Slip Op 51678(U)). He jumped to catch a pass, came down on a concealed sprinkler head, and suffered injury. He sued the school district since the league game was played on school district property. Prior to the game, he and the other team members had signed waivers intended to protect the school district from liability.  

Waiver Protects Cheerleader Organization from Liability for Negligence in Georgia

By Doyice Cotten

Kimberly and James Shields sued RDM, LLC d/b/a Georgia All Stars (GA) for negligence when Kimberly tripped and fell from  mats on the floor at an exhibition of participants’ routines for parents to view in the practice area of the gym. Their daughter was a participant in Special Twist (a “special needs all star cheer and dance team.”)  Special Twist is not part of the Georgia All Stars facility or teams, but is instead an independent 501 (3) (c) organization that was invited to participate in the exhibition on the night in question.

Is an Arbitration clause in an unenforceable waiver enforceable in NJ?

By Doyice Cotten

In Hojnowski v. Vans Skate Park (2006), The New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that parental waivers of liability (those signed by parents on behalf of their minor child) are not enforceable in New Jersey. In that same decision, it also ruled that parental arbitration agreements (those signed by parents on behalf of their minor child) are enforceable. The rationale in these decisions has been that a liability waiver, if enforced, takes away the rights of the minor for compensation for loss;

Is an Arbitration Clause in a Waiver a Possible Answer to Liability in Connecticut?

By Doyice Cotten

The plaintiff, Rita Lorentz, voluntarily signed a waiver of liability (containing an arbitration clause) when she took her children to a Sky Zone trampoline park. While there, she went to the restroom, slipped in a puddle, fell suffering injury, and subsequently sued the company, HJ & Edward Enterprises, LLC d/b/a Sky Zone (Lorentz v. HJ & Edwards Enterprises, LLC., 2020.

The agreement called for binding arbitration before an arbitrator;

Nevada Supreme Court Rules on Waiver in a Gym Membership Agreement

By Doyice Cotten

Nathan Waldschmidt was injured while using the Edge Fitness facilities and filed suit challenging the waiver he had signed previously. He claimed the waiver was ambiguous.  In 2018 the Nevada Supreme Court ruled that the waiver signed by the plaintiff was enforceable (Waldschmidt v. Edge Fitness, LLC, 2018). [Neither details of the incident nor the complete waiver was reported.]

The Nevada Supreme Court upheld the summary judgment of the lower court stating that the waiver located in the gym membership contract was unambiguous.