Michigan Court Explains Distinction between Negligence & Gross Negligence in Roller Derby Case

By Doyice Cotten

Elizabeth Dudros was injured when she struck a wall located only five feet from the roller derby track during a non-contact drill. She had to swerve to avoid a pile-up causing her to strike the wall (Budros v. Womens’ Flat Track Roller Derby Association, 2017 Mich. App. LEXIS 1525).

Budros had purchased WFTDA insurance before skating; the policy included a waiver of liability. The Traverse City Roller Derby (TCRD) athletic director showed Budros around the track prior to the drill.

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

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.

Indiana Waiver Law as to Gross Negligence

By Doyice Cotten

Indiana law regarding waivers and extreme forms of negligence (gross negligence, reckless conduct, willful/wanton conduct and intentional acts) was addressed in Sportsdrome Speedway, Inc. v. Clark (2016 Ind. App. Unpub. LEXIS 363).

In this case, Sportsdrome appeal a trial court ruling denying Sportsdrome’s motion for summary judgment. Jason Clark, an employee/volunteer was injured at the racetrack when a car struck him while being propelled from the track during an accident. Clark filed suit alleging the racetrack was grossly negligent and acted in a willful and wanton manner because 1) it knew the risk faced by Clark and stationed him alone in a dangerous area and 2) because the management knew that the design and layout of the track was unreasonably dangerous.

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

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.

Missouri Supreme Court Provides an Interesting Ruling Regarding a Gross Negligence and Reckless Disregard Claim

By Doyice Cotten
Cynthia DeCormier signed up for a motorcycle training course, signed a liability waiver, and attended the course. On the day of the course there was rain, drizzle, snow, and mist; there was also ice on the pavement. As a consequence, she and her bike took a spill and she suffered injury. She subsequently sued alleging negligence, gross negligence, and reckless disregard (DeCormier v. Harley-Davidson Motor Company Group, Inc., 2014 Mo.

D.C. Court Rules on Opportunity to Negotiate, Gross Negligence/Recklessness, and Lack of Consideration

By Doyice J. Cotten

In a case  in which a client was injured on a Segway[1] tour, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia addressed several aspects of waiver law in the District of Columbia. (Hara v. Hardcore Choppers, LLC (2012))

Opportunity to Negotiate

The court said that the waiver in the case was not against public policy. Regarding unequal bargaining power, the court stated that it did not suppose that the parties were of equal bargaining power;

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

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,

California Waiver Case Examines: 1) Group Waivers, 2) Gross Negligence, and 3) California Civil Code Section 1668

By Doyice Cotten

In Jones v. City of Ukiah (2013 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 5125), Ernest Jones was injured sliding into second base in a softball game. He then sued the city alleging negligence, gross negligence, and statutory liability for having a dangerous condition on public property – claiming that the base was improperly anchored and did not lie flat. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the City and the plaintiff appealed.

Will Waivers Protect Against Liability for Gross Negligence and Other Extreme Actions?

This article was taken from Waivers & Releases of Liability 7th ed. and updated for SportWaiver.com. Click SportWaiver for a limited time special price on the book.

By Doyice Cotten

Waivers are now enforceable and can protect the service provider from liability for ordinary negligence in almost every state. However, courts in most states generally hold that waivers intended to protect against gross negligence, reckless conduct, willful or wanton conduct, and intentional acts are against public policy. 

Is the Word “Negligence” Required for Waivers in New York Courts?

By Doyice Cotten

In 2016, Michelle Kalinkina, a professional model agreed to have a public haircut and styling demonstration. During the haircut, the stylist cut Kalinkina’s neck causing physical injury and scarring. She subsequently sued for damages alleging negligence and gross negligence (Kalinkina v. Martino Cartier Enterprises, LLC, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 95670).

Cartier provided a waiver signed by Kalinkina as a defense against the negligence claim. The waiver read:

I am providing modeling services for International Designs Corp.