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.,

Most Waivers Are Adhesion Contracts – So What?

By Doyice Cotten

There is much confusion and misinformation about adhesion contracts as they relate to the enforceability of liability waivers in recreation, fitness, and sport activities. There is a common misconception that adhesion contracts are against public policy and subsequently unenforceable.

What is an Adhesion Contract?

An adhesion contract is a “standardized contract which is imposed and drafted by the party with superior bargaining power and which relegates the subscribing party only the option of signing the contract or rejecting it” (i.e.,

Waiver enforced under Maritime Law in Puerto Rico Jet ski Case

By Doyice Cotten

In the post last week, we looked at a waiver in a Puerto Rico jet ski case (Morgan v. Water Toy Shop, Inc., 2018). The Puerto Rican court examined the case in which the plaintiff was seriously injured in a collision with another party; the plaintiff sued the shop that rented the jet ski to the party who caused the accident. Since the incident occurred in navigable waters, the suit fell under maritime law.

Puerto Rico Jet Ski Waiver Emphasizes the Inherent Risks of the Activity

By Doyice Cotten  

The primary purpose of a liability waiver is to protect the entity from liability for injuries resulting from the negligence of the entity and its employees. A secondary function of the waiver is to help provide protection from liability for injuries resulting from the inherent risks of the activity. Technically, the provider is not usually liable for injuries associated with the inherent risks – provided the injured party was familiar with those inherent risks. The listing of inherent risks in the waiver can provide evidence that the participant was aware of the inherent risks;

Summary Judgment Rulings in Recent New Jersey Waiver Cases when Gross Negligence is Alleged

By Doyice Cotten

Plaintiffs often allege both negligence and gross negligence when injured and seeking redress. New Jersey law generally holds that “contracting parties are afforded the liberty to bind themselves as they see fit.” Waivers of provider negligence, however, are disfavored in law and must be subjected to close judicial scrutiny. Such waivers must reflect the intent of the party giving up rights to do so voluntarily and with knowledge of the consequences. Further the signer of a contract,

U.S. District Colorado Court of Appeals Addresses Unsigned Waiver (Disclaimer) on Lift Ticket

 By Doyice Cotten

Carolyn Raup was injured dismounting a chairlift. The lift ticket was purchased for her by her daughter and son-in-law. The ticket had a waiver on its back side and a warning on the front reading “IMPORTANT WARNING ON REVERSE.” She sued alleging negligence plus other claims. The trial court ruled that Vail was protected by the waiver language. She appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals in this action (Raup v. Vail Summit Resorts,

Should the Specific Risks of the Activity Be Listed in the Waiver?

By Doyice Cotten

 A 2018 New Mexico rappelling case (Dominguez v. United States, 2018) illustrates clearly why it is important that waivers warn the signing client of the risks faced in the activity.

Sarah Dominguez, a civilian, participated in a team-building activity at the Para-Rescue Academy at Kirkland Air Force Base. She informed the person in charge that she had never rappelled; she said later that she had been informed there would be no climbing involved in the activity. 

Do Texas Courts Enforce Waivers for Gross Negligence?

By Doyice Cotten

Last week’s post, Court in Texas Trampoline Park Case Enforces Waiver for Gross Negligence, involved an occasion when a Texas Appellate court did enforce a waiver for gross negligence. But, when one looks at previous court rulings, it becomes clear that there are two schools of thought on the matter of whether waivers can protect against liability for gross negligence.

Some Texas courts feel that gross negligence is not a separate cause of action from that of negligence.

Court in Texas Trampoline Park Case Enforces Waiver for Gross Negligence

By Doyice Cotten

Graciela Quiroz and her sixteen-year-old son went to Jumpstreet for trampolining. Before jumping, she signed a pre-injury waiver of liability “Jumpstreet, LLC Release and Parent/Guardian Waiver of Liability and Assumption of Risk.” After signing the waiver, Graciela attempted to do a flip and injured her neck; this resulted in paralysis from the waist down. She sued Jumpstreet for negligence and gross negligence and as next friend of two minor children for their loss of parental consortium and for mental anguish;

Oops! The Injured Client Did Not Sign the Waiver — What Now?

By Doyice Cotten

Tyrone Hill tripped over a yoga mat which had been left on the floor of a basketball court and suffered a fracture of the leg (Hill v. LA Fitness, 2018).  He sued LA Fitness alleging negligence.

LA Fitness moved for summary judgment on the basis of a liability waiver signed by Hill. Pertinent parts of the waiver follow (Bold emphasis added.):

IMPORTANT: RELEASE AND WAIVER OF LIABILITY AND INDEMNITY.