Waivers

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

What Makes a Waiver Adhesionary – and consequently unenforceable?

 

By Mary Cotten

A waiver of liability in the sport, recreation, or fitness industry can usually be accurately described as a standardized agreement printed on the company’s form, offering little or no opportunity for negotiation or free and voluntary bargaining by the signer. Unfortunately, this is also the definition of a contract of adhesion. Worse news yet, adhesionary contracts in most states are against public policy and unenforceable. But, for the good news, courts are consistent in holding that sport,

What if the Client does not Read English?

By Mary Cotten

The question of the effectiveness of a waiver signed by a non-reader or a non-English reader is a concern for sport, recreation, and fitness providers.  Courts generally hold that a person who signs a contract is bound by it whether they read it or not.

This was one of the issues before the U. S. District Court in a 2016 New Jersey case, Kang v. LA Fitness.  Kang, who could not read or understand English,

Enforcement of Health Club Waivers of Liability Challenged by New Jersey Supreme Court Judge

By Doyice Cotten

Courts in most states will enforce well-written liability waivers signed willingly by adults. Nevertheless, many people argue strongly against this protection for service providers. This post presents good arguments by one judge opposed to health club immunity from liability granted by such waivers.

Current New Jersey case law supports the enforcement of health club liability waivers. In fact, the Supreme Court of New Jersey recently determined to accept a stipulation for dismissal following a settlement of the matter by the parties.

Four Common Waiver Formats: Which is Best for Your Business?

By Doyice Cotten

Thousands of agreements which waive the liability of sport, recreation, and fitness providers are utilized each day; but not all waivers look alike. There are at least four commonly used formats for liability protection. Each format has advantages and disadvantages — consequently, the formats are not equally effective. In this post, I compare the formats so that the reader may decide if he or she is using the best possible type of liability protection.

Common Formats

The common formats are 1) the stand-alone waiver of liability,

Waiver Fails to Protect Sports club in a Trip and Fall Case

By JoAnn M. Eickhoff-Shemek, Ph.D., FACSM

Dr. Eickhoff-Shemek is Professor Emeritus, University of South Florida (USF) and is President of the Fitness Law Academy, LLC (www.fitnesslawacademy.com). This post originally appeared in the Fitness Law Academy Newsletter, Vol 1, Issue 4 (October, 2018). You may subscribe to the quarterly newsletter free of charge at www.fitnesslawacademy.com.

Case Brief: Crossing-Lyons v. Towns Sport International,

Evaluating a Waiver

By Doyice Cotten

 

In waiver cases, a court has to determine if the liability waiver does, indeed, protect the defendant from liability for negligence. In this post, we will examine a recent waiver addressed in Garvine v. Maryland, (2018) to see how courts address this task and give the reader a little insight into the sometimes complicated process of evaluation.

 

Waiver in Question

Oxford Feed &

Risk Management Procedures Help Save Utah Snowmobile Operator from Liability

By Doyice Cotten

Matthew Rose rented a 2014 Polaris snowmobile from Summit Lodge. While approaching an opening in a wooden fence on the snowmobile, the throttle stuck on full-throttle and resulted in an injury to Rose.

The snowmobile has a thumb-operated throttle lever for acceleration; release of the lever is supposed to return the machine to idle. Normally, the machine has two methods of manual shut-off: a kill switch or by turning the key to off.

Duration of a Waiver at Issue in a Pennsylvania ATV Case

By Doyice Cotten

This author has frequently written about the duration of liability waivers. In a three-part series in 2017, posts addressed a Virgin Islands waiver written intending a one-year duration where the injury occurred after the one-year period – the court ruled it to be unenforceable; another waiver case involved a waiver which did not specify a duration and the Pennsylvania court ruled such a waiver unenforceable; and a third waiver case examined a waiver which did not state a duration – the Massachusetts court held the duration of a contract does not extend forever but only for a reasonable time (which is up to the court to determine).

Failure to Properly Name Protected Parties Results in a Reversal in Favor of the Plaintiff

By Doyice Cotten

Bradford Jones and his son Forbes collided with each other while riding jet skis. Bradford was injured and subsequently sued both The Barge, LLC and its owner David Hubert. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of defendants based on the liability waiver signed by Jones prior to the ride. It should be noted that the waiver listed The Barge, LLC as a protected party, but the ownership and legal status of the business had changed several times over the years and at the time of the accident,

Will My Waiver Protect Me When someone has an Ordinary “Slip and Fall?”

By Doyice Cotten

It is well-established that the common law imposes a duty of care on business owners to maintain safe premises for their business invitees (clients, customers, or potential clients).  Visitors to a place of business generally fall into one of three categories and in most states, the duty owed the visitor depends upon the “category” into which the visitor falls.

The three categories are, first, the invitee — one who has an express or implied invitation to enter the business (e.g.,