Minnesota Court Enforces Waiver Signed by Parent

Accident Minnesota joined the list of states that have enforced a liability waiver which was signed by a parent on behalf of a minor child (Moore v. Minnesota Baseball Instructional  School, 2009 Minn. App. Unpub. LEXIS 299).  Moore signed a waiver for her son releasing the Minnesota Baseball Instructional School from liability arising from injury or loss caused by negligence or otherwise while participating in such activity or while upon the premises.

The minor suffered the loss of vision in one eye while throwing woodchips during a free period. The lawsuit challenged the waiver claiming the waiver did not apply because the youngster was not playing baseball at the time of the injury and that the area in which the injury occurred was not on the premises. The appellate court held that the incident was covered by the waiver. Plaintiffs also claimed that the clause was against pubic policy. The appellate court held, however that while the bargaining power of the parties differed, the services could be obtained elsewhere and emphasized that no essential service was involved. The court affirmed the trial court ruling enforcing the waiver.

What is most interesting about the case is that the issue of whether a parent can release the rights of a minor was not addressed at all. This was not a Minnesota Supreme Court ruling, so the finding could be reversed on appeal, but as of now, it seems that parental waivers are enforceable in Minnesota.