Updating Parental Waiver Law — Part II

By Doyice Cotten

Several court rulings as well as a new statute have affected the parental waiver landscape recently. Three states were discussed in an article posted last week. Here, we will address recent cases affecting parental waiver law in Alabama, Texas, and Pennsylvania. Parental waiver law for all states is covered in depth in Waivers & Releases of Liability, 7th ed.

Alabama

J.T., a minor, was injured while riding his motorcycle on a motocross course at Monster Mountain MX Park.

Updating Parental Waiver Law — Part I

By Doyice Cotten

Several court rulings as well as a new statute have affected the parental waiver landscape recently. The purpose of this two-part article is to bring you up-to-date on changes in the law. Three states are discussed below and Alabama, Texas, and Pennsylvania will be covered next week. Parental waiver law for all states is covered in depth in Waivers & Releases of Liability, 7th ed.

Iowa

The Iowa Supreme Court has recently clarified parental waiver law in Iowa (Galloway v.

Parental Equine Waivers Are Enforceable in Utah

By Doyice Cotten

Utah law regarding the enforcement of parental waivers has been clearly established since the Hawkins v. Peart Utah Supreme Court decision in 2001. The Court ruled that it was against public policy for a parent to release the prospective negligence claim prior to or after an injury.

In a 2013 case (Penunuri v. Sundance Partners, LTD), however, the Utah Supreme Court examined the Utah Equine Statute passed in 2003.

Is an Arbitration Clause in a Waiver a Possible Answer to Liability in Connecticut?

By Doyice Cotten

The plaintiff, Rita Lorentz, voluntarily signed a waiver of liability (containing an arbitration clause) when she took her children to a Sky Zone trampoline park. While there, she went to the restroom, slipped in a puddle, fell suffering injury, and subsequently sued the company, HJ & Edward Enterprises, LLC d/b/a Sky Zone (Lorentz v. HJ & Edwards Enterprises, LLC., 2020.

The agreement called for binding arbitration before an arbitrator;

Multiple Waivers and Multiple Business Names Cloud A Trail Ride Case

By Doyice Cotten

Brenda Martz-Alvarado was injured when dismounting from a trail ride. She sued the property owner, Tomi Truaz, and the owners of the trailride, Forrest and Georgia Riddle (dba Grand View Horse Tours).

Truaz was running a business at the property operating under the name Grand View Horse Tours. Martz-Alvarado purchased a trail-riding experience through a third party website and as part of securing her reservation, she agreed to a waiver of liability.

“that being around horses is inherently dangerous” and that she would assume all risks.

Nevada Supreme Court Rules on Waiver in a Gym Membership Agreement

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 #1 Thing to Check in Your Waiver!

By Doyice Cotten

Contrary to some opinions, All Waivers Are Not Born Equal. Waivers range in length from one sentence to several pages. Some are written specifically for one particular business while others are generic and intended to be used in many situations. Some are written in legalese; others written in plain language. And some provide more types of protection than others.

While waivers may vary in length, specificity, and verbiage, one of the most important determinants of whether the waiver will protect the activity provider is one or two sentences comprising what is called the exculpatory language.

Do Waivers Protect when the Injured Party has a Disability?

By Doyice Cotten

Sometimes activity providers are reluctant to offer activities to participants with disabilities because they fear possible injury and have doubt as to whether their liability waiver would be enforceable against a person with a disability. The following is a case that is more than 20 years old, but that accurately illustrates that there is no “special waiver law” for the disabled.

Franklin Potter, a skilled and experienced handicapped skier, was injured in the National Handicapped Downhill Championships race.

Waiver in a Maritime Case due to Boat Collision fails: It did not Specify whose negligence was Protected

By Doyice Cotten

Steven Gilliam and Calvin Sanders chartered a boat from New Pelican Charters, LLC and both plaintiffs suffered back injuries when, seeing that the boat was about to collide with another fishing boat, tried to quickly move to a safer part of the boat. The collision occurred, in part, because the steering mechanism was faulty.

They filed a maritime law claim alleging negligence in that the boat was not seaworthy (New Pelican Charters v.

Universities Requiring Football Players to Sign “Waiver-Type” Documents

By Doyice Cotten

A number of schools are requiring football players (and sometimes their parents) to sign an agreement relating to COVID-19. Some agreements are primarily a warning of the risk, but others seem intended to waive the liability of the university should the player contract the disease.

Ohio State University

ESPN announced that Ohio State University players and their parents were asked to sign a “Buckeye Pledge” by which they acknowledged the risk of COVID-19 and agreed to testing,