By Doyice Cotten
Nathan Waldschmidt was injured while using the Edge Fitness facilities and filed suit challenging the waiver he had signed previously. He claimed the waiver was ambiguous. In 2018 the Nevada Supreme Court ruled that the waiver signed by the plaintiff was enforceable (Waldschmidt v. Edge Fitness, LLC, 2018). [Neither details of the incident nor the complete waiver was reported.]
The Nevada Supreme Court upheld the summary judgment of the lower court stating that the waiver located in the gym membership contract was unambiguous. The appellant had contended that “the exculpatory clause does not expressly relieve respondent from liability as a matter of law”, the court pointed out that he acknowledged that “[he understood] the risk of injury from … using any CLUB equipment is significant,” and that “[he] KNOWINGLY AND FREELY ASSUME[D] ALL SUCH RISKS, both known and unknown.” Appellant further “assume[d] all risks associated with using exercise equipment.”
The Court explained that by signing the membership agreement, appellant agreed to “RELEASE, INDEMNIFY, AND HOLD HARMLESS [RESPONDENT] … WITH RESPECT TO ANY AND ALL INJURY… WHETHER ARISING FROM THE NEGLIGENCE OF [RESPONDENT] or otherwise … that may arise out of or in connection with my use of any of the equipment….” It ruled that “Thus, the unambiguous exculpatory clause explicitly relieved respondent of liability in this instance, as appellant’s claims were confined to ordinary negligence.” It cited previous Nevada law that stated when the language of the contract is clear and unambiguous, it “will be enforced as written.” It also noted that a waiver “will be enforced if it is unambiguous and clearly expresses the release of liability for negligence with great particularity.”
We have examined previous waiver cases from the Nevada Supreme Court indicating the enforceability of liability waivers in that state. This case, though briefly described, adds support to the idea that waivers in Nevada are enforceable.
Photo Credit: thanks to Nenad Stojkovic via Flickr.