Contract Secrets You Learn When Your When Your Cruise Ship Flounders

Doyice Cotten

It is always news when a cruise ship has trouble at sea. Whether it is a disease outbreak, a fire on board, running aground, or engine failure, there are unhappy people. Of course, the cruise ship offers passengers some refund, credit toward another cruise, or other compensation for the danger, inconvenience, or pain suffered. This will satisfy many passengers; many, however, will go away dissatisfied.

A few will sue the cruise line.

Surprising Ruling in New Jersey Case

By Doyice Cotten

James Walters joined a YMCA and signed a membership agreement containing a waiver. About three years later, he suffered injury when he slipped on a step while walking to the YMCA pool – allegedly because the slip resistant rubber on the stairs was worn off the bottom step. The trial court granted summary judgment ruling that the waiver language protected the club against liability for negligence (Walters v. YMCA,

Utilize the “Negligence of the Provider” — But Address Negligence Risks and Inherent Risks Separately

By Doyice Cotten

On countless occasions, this author has stressed two points. First, is the value (or even necessity) of including specific reference to the “negligence of the provider” in the exculpatory language of a waiver. In many states, the term is mandated in order for a waiver to be enforced; in others, it is strongly recommended. Alternately, in some states, general language such as “any and all claims” is sufficient. In Florida, four of its Districts require the use of the term “negligence.” In its 5th District (the district hearing this case),

D.C. Court Rules on Opportunity to Negotiate, Gross Negligence/Recklessness, and Lack of Consideration

By Doyice J. Cotten

In a case  in which a client was injured on a Segway[1] tour, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia addressed several aspects of waiver law in the District of Columbia. (Hara v. Hardcore Choppers, LLC (2012))

Opportunity to Negotiate

The court said that the waiver in the case was not against public policy. Regarding unequal bargaining power, the court stated that it did not suppose that the parties were of equal bargaining power;

Releases and Related Issues: Revisited (Part 1)

By Charles R. Gregg and Catherine Hansen-Stamp ©2012*

I am pleased to be able to run this great article on waivers and releases by two of the leading adventure law attorneys. I am breaking it into two parts which will run in consecutive weeks. It is Reprinted from The CampLine by permission of the American Camp Association and the authors.

 

Part I

Introduction

Camp managers and camp families appear to understand the significance of an agreement in which the camp seeks protection from certain claims.

Risk Management: Cruise Ship Precautions for Jet Ski Tour

By Doyice Cotten

In a case involving a collision between two jet skis during a jet ski tour provided by Royal Caribbean Cruises (Royal), Royal listed the risk management steps taken in an effort to prevent injuries ( In re Royal Caribbean Cruises, LTD, 2013).  The tour consisted of a number of jet skiers in a single file follow-the-leader type tour. Providers of all sport businesses would do well to study these steps and adapt them to their sport business.

Release/Assumption of Risk Agreement Language Protects Mechanical Bull Provider from Liability for Inherent Risks

By Doyice Cotten

While in a bar after watching others, Revel Thom decided to ride a mechanical bull.(Thom v. Rebel’s Honkey Tonk, 2012 Tex. App. LEXIS 7555) Before riding the bull, he completed and signed a document entitled PARTICIPANT AGREEMENT, RELEASE, AND ASSUMPTION OF RISK. When he was thrown from the bull, he fractured two vertebrae in his back.

He then sued appellees for his injuries. The trial court awarded summary judgment to Rebel’s Honky Tonk.

Resorts, Tours, and Agency Law

By Doyice Cotten

It is common practice for hotels and resorts around the world to offer optional tours to guests through activity providers. These types of tours include such activities as snorkeling, nature tours, tubing, sightseeing, and any number of other activities. It is not uncommon for a guest to be injured on such tours and seek compensation from the hotel/resort. Whether the injured guest wins or not depends upon the relationship between the hotel/resort and the activity provider – whether the provider is an agent of the hotel/resort or is an independent contractor operating on its own.

“Management will not be Responsible for Accidents” Does NOT Protect in Florida Case

By Doyice Cotten

A guest at Grand Seas Resort was injured when his chair collapsed on the patio. He sued alleging negligence and the Resort claimed protection from its exculpatory clause in the “guest license agreement.” The entire exculpatory language was “Management . . . will not be responsible for accidents or injury to guest . . . .” (Hackett v. Grand Seas Resort Owner’s Association, Inc., 2012 Fla. App. LEXIS 10111)

The trial court granted summary judgment,