Waivers

Articles relating to waiver law and/or how to write an effective waiver.

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 Waivers – Waivers 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,

Niagara Jet Boat: Was there Gross Negligence?

By Doyice Cotten

This post examines another important issue in the Witkowski v. Niagara Jet Boat Adventures, LLC, 2020 case – Gross Negligence or Ordinary Negligence.

In the jet boat case, the Witkowski’s took a jet boat ride and Sarah Witkowski suffered injury. The reader is referred back to last week’s post for the facts of the case.

The final issue addressed in the case was the allegation that Niagara Jet was grossly negligent.

Niagara Jet Boat Accident Pits Maritime Law vs. New York State Law

By Doyice Cotten

In 2016, Sarah Witkowski and her husband, Scott, were passengers on a jet boat operated by Niagara Jet Adventures, LLC, (“Niagara Jet”) when she suffered injury. They sued alleging negligence or willful and reckless conduct. Niagara Jet moved for summary judgment based on the waiver of liability signed by Sarah (Witkowski v. Niagara Jet Adventures, LLC, 2020).

Upon arrival, they noticed a safety video playing in the background;  Sarah “looked at” and signed a waiver of liability.

A Perfect Electronic Waiver will not Protect if the Provider cannot Authenticate the Electronic Signature

By Doyice Cotten

In several previous posts (including Established Protocol for Administering an Electronic Waiver Protects Fair when Participant is Killed), this author has commented on how the validity of electronic waivers is dependent upon following procedures by which the electronic signature of the participant can be shown to be authentic.

Facts of the Case

In each of the articles, cases in which the electronic waiver has been enforced are reported.

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.

An Outline of the Assumption of the Risk Doctrine in California

By Doyice Cotten

The doctrine of assumption of risk provides liability protection for sport and recreation providers in many states. This post attempts to summarize or outline the doctrine in California and show how liability waivers fit in. Your state may be similar or your state may be one in which the doctrine is no longer followed. This outline is drawn from statements in Knight v. Jewett (1992), an important California Supreme Court case and a few more cases as noted.

Apparent Authority: Know Who is Signing the Waiver

By Doyice Cotten

Tony Coleman sued Otese, Ltd. (d/b/a Texas Raceway) for injuries he sustained at a drag strip owned by  Otese (Coleman v. Otese, Ltd, 2020). He claimed there was excessive oil on the racetrack.  The trial court granted summary judgment to the defense, in part based on the waiver signed by Coleman.

Coleman appealed making several arguments – one of which was that he had not signed the waiver.

You Be The Judge: When Does Hunting Begin?

By Doyice Cotten

Anthony Wimmer went on a hunting trip hosted by defendant Top Gun (Wimmer v. Top Gun Guide Service, Inc., 2019). Prior to going on the trip, Wimmer read and signed a waiver purporting to release Top Gun from liability arising from the hunting trip. Mr. Wimmer also agreed in his deposition that hunting and fishing is a dangerous activity. The waiver read in part:

 

I acknowledge that hunting and fishing entails known and unanticipated risks which could result in physical or emotional injury,