Online Waivers: Some Mistakes to Avoid

Alexander “Sandie” Pendleton is an attorney in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, who helps recreational opportunity providers create and properly deploy precisely-crafted waiver and other agreements. He can be reached at [email protected].

 

By Alexander “Sandie” Pendleton

Forgoing the traditional signed paper waiver agreement, and using instead an online or electronic waiver agreement, is becoming very common, and courts in several states have enforced such waiver agreements.

Electronic or Online Waivers: How Good Are They?

 

By Doyice Cotten

 The preferred form of waiver usage in recreation and sport businesses is quickly becoming electronic (waiver available on a computer, tablet, or online). I am asked whether electronic waivers are as valid and effective as paper waivers.  Today, such waivers are in widespread use and there is no question as to their validity. This writer has found no cases in which a waiver has failed simply because it was not a paper waiver.

Online Waiver Agreements: Not Worth the Paper They’re (Not) Written On?

This article by Alexander “Sandie” Pendleton addresses some of the concerns regarding the validity of online waivers. Mr Pendleton is with Kohner, Mann, and Kailis of Milwaukee.

Do courts enforce waiver agreements that are entered into electronically, for instance, via an online registration process? Or instead, will courts only find an agreement enforceable if the agreement is printed on a real piece of paper and signed in ink in the traditional manner?

The above questions raise a host of issues.

Online Waivers/Electronic Signatures in NY

In a 2008 case (Stephenson v. Food Bank for New York City), Devone Stephenson alleged that the league was negligent in its supervision, operation, and control of the basketball game in which he was injured. Stephenson suffered a broken jaw when an opponent suddenly punched him in the face. Stephenson alleged that there was rough play, taunting, and “trash talk” throughout the game even though his team captain asked the referees to clean up the game.

Injured Ski Patron Claims “No Consideration” when Purchase was Online and Waiver Executed Two Days Later

By Doyice Cotten

Ms. Patterson bought a ski lift ticket online, paying $57. Two days later she picked up her ticket at the resort. The front of this lift ticket contained an adhesive sticker, designed to be removed and adhered to a wicket on the ticket holder’s clothing, on which Ms. Patterson’s name, the ticket type, and a bar code were printed. The back of the lift ticket, like all lift tickets issued by Monarch Mountain on March 20,

Universities Requiring Football Players to Sign “Waiver-Type” Documents

By Doyice Cotten

A number of schools are requiring football players (and sometimes their parents) to sign an agreement relating to COVID-19. Some agreements are primarily a warning of the risk, but others seem intended to waive the liability of the university should the player contract the disease.

Ohio State University

ESPN announced that Ohio State University players and their parents were asked to sign a “Buckeye Pledge” by which they acknowledged the risk of COVID-19 and agreed to testing,

High Ropes Course Waiver Protects Provider and Builder Under Colorado Law

By Doyice Cotten

In  June, 2018, Jodi Sheldon was seriously injured while participating in a high ropes course at the Golden Bell Ranch. She sued Golden Bell Retreat, Cross Bearing Adventures (“CBA”), the company which constructed the course and trained employees, and it’s owner Kent McIlhany. alleging negligence (Sheldon v. Golden Bell Retreat, 2020). All three defendants claimed Ms. Sheldon’s claims are barred by a waiver and indemnification agreement signed by Sheldon.

The Waiver

The waiver read,

COVID-19 – Liability Insurance – and Waivers!

By Doyice Cotten

No one needs reminding of the national emergency relating to COVID-19 and the problems it has brought. Many providers of sport, recreation, and fitness activities are worrying about their liability in this situation.

In terms of risk management, most utilize two major tools to protect their business or organization from undue financial risk – these tools are liability insurance and liability waivers. Unfortunately, many are finding that their insurance does not cover communicable diseases and are taking a look at their waiver and wondering if it will protect them.

Hanrahan-Fox v. Top Gun Shooting Sports (2019): A Look at Missouri Waiver Law

By Doyice Cotten

Marie Hanrahan-Fox, after patronizing the shooting range operated by Defendant Top Gun Shooting Sports, alleged that she suffered irreversible hearing loss due to the inadequate hearing protection provided her by Top Gun.  She claimed that Top Gun was negligent; in addition, her husband made a claim for loss of consortium.  They also made a products liability claim against Pyramex Safety Products, LLC, which was not before this court.

Top Gun moved for Summary Judgment based on the waiver signed by the plaintiff. 

Parental WaiversWaivers Signed by Parents on Behalf of a Minor! Are they Enforceable in Your State?

By Doyice Cotten

At one point, maybe 25 years or so ago, it was not unusual to hear or read ——-, “Waivers are not worth the paper they are printed on!” That time has come and gone; now virtually every professional in sport, recreation, and fitness recognizes that in most states, waivers can provide valuable protection against significant financial loss as a result of injury lawsuits.

In fact, courts in about 45 states enforce well-drafted liability waivers that are voluntarily signed by adult participants in sport,