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,

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,

Kentucky Health Club Allowed To Produce Waiver To Show That The Club Did Not Breach Its Standard Of Care

 By Doyice Cotten

Lori Hassler joined Results by Design, LLC in order to begin a training regimen in the hope of “toning up” for her daughter’s upcoming wedding. She listed her goals on intake paperwork as a tighter abdomen, muscle definition in arms, and more energy. She was aware that she suffered from diabetic kidney disease. The trainers put together a coordinated exercise program, nutrition plan, and dietary supplementation (vitamins) regimen. After about six weeks on the plan,

Established Protecol for Administering Electronic Waiver Protects Fair When Participant is Killed

By Doyice Cotten

The 28th District, an agency in the State of California, organizes and operates the San Bernardino County Fair and owns and operates the event location. The fair’s attractions are owned and operated by independent vendors. The vendor in this case, FD Event, owned and operated the “Free Drop Experience.” It involved jumping off scaffolding 36 feet high onto a stuntman airbag. When constructing the scaffolding for the May, 2015, fair the platform at the top was eliminated because it seemed to add too much stress to the tower.

Insufficient Language Results in Waiver’s Failure to Protect for Negligence in a Deep Sea Fishing Trip – Admiralty Law

By Doyice Cotten

Sport, recreation, and fitness businesses regularly depend upon liability waivers for protection from liability for injuries resulting from the negligence of the business. What is still astounding is the quality of some of the waivers relied upon by some businesses. Some small businesses have investments of hundreds of thousands of dollars; other businesses’ investments are in the millions. In spite of this, some are relying upon what seems to be a 25 cent waiver.

In New Pelican Charters,LLC v.

A Unique Challenge to a Waiver – Retract the Waiver

By Doyice Cotten

In this case, two persons (Cynthia Mowery and Brian Alexander), injured in separate incidents, sued The Eastern Shore Criminal Justice Academy and the instructor, Barry Smith, alleging gross negligence in causing serious injuries. Each was in training at the Academy and each had signed a liability waiver (Mowery v. Smith, 2019).

The Unique Defense

The case addressed several issues, including Maryland waiver law [which will be presented in greater detail in a subsequent post].

The Importance of a Well-written Waiver

By Doyice Cotten 

Sport, recreation, and fitness businesses regularly depend upon liability waivers for protection from liability for injuries resulting from the negligence of the business. What is still astounding is the quality of some of the waivers relied upon by some businesses. Some small businesses have investments of hundreds of thousands of dollars; other businesses’ investments are in the millions. In spite of this, some are relying upon what seems to be a 25 cent waiver.

In New Pelican Charters,LLC v.