Hawaii Case Illustrates Why Admiralty Law Can be Important to Recreation Providers

By Doyice Cotten
Mark Strickert took his wife and two children on a snorkeling trip. He and his wife signed waivers on behalf of themselves and their children. The trip consisted of six scuba divers and six snorkelers (including the four Strickerts), two crew members and Mr. Neal (the party in charge) who stayed on the boat while the others entered the water. At some point the weather worsened causing extremely high winds and large waves. Neal signaled the snorkelers and divers to return to the boat.

Connecticut Wall Climbing Waiver Fails

By Doyice Cotten

In a 2014 case, a Connecticut Superior Court failed to enforce a pre-injury waiver signed by the plaintiff (Lecuna v. Carabiners Fairfield, LLC, 2014 Conn. Super LEXIS 2610). Plaintiff fell from the facility while “bouldering” and sued claiming negligence.
Among the allegations were:

• Climbing hold attachment turned or came loose.
• Attendant “spotter” had walked away and was not present to break the fall.

Not Much Risk Management in Mandalay (Burma)

By Doyice Cotten

While readers saw in last week’s post that risk management in Thailand is alive and well, this is not the case in Mandalay, Myanmar’s second largest city.

As in many countries, city sidewalks present somewhat of an adventure. In Myanmar, holes and irregularities of surface present a major problem for pedestrians. See photos 1, 2, 3. Photo 11 shows that you need to look ahead as well as down—the sign is safe only if you are extremely short.

Hawaii Waiver Law Clarified: Waivers Don’t Protect Against Negligence!!!

By Doyice Cotten

Waiver law in Hawaii has been unclear for some time. In the past, waivers have been enforced in Hawaii, however, in 1997 the Hawaii Legislature passed HRS § 663-1.54 which read in part:

(a) Any person who owns or operates a business providing recreational activities to the public, such as, without limitation, scuba or skin diving, sky diving, bicycle tours, and mountain climbing, shall exercise reasonable care to ensure the safety of patrons and the public,

Waivers and Persons-with-Disabilities: Do the Same Rules Apply?

By Alexander “Sandie” Pendleton

 One positive development in the world of sports in the last two decades has been the substantial increase in opportunities available for persons with disabilities to engage in active recreational activities and competitions. But during that time there have been few cases addressing the enforceability of waiver-of-liability agreements, when activity or competition involved persons with disabilities. This has raised the question of whether in such cases courts will apply the same rules regarding waivers,

Alaska Supreme Court Clarifies Alaska Waiver Law in Rock Gym Case

By Doyice Cotten

Claire Donahue (Donahue v. Ledgends, Inc., 2014 Alas. LEXIS 153) signed up for a rock climbing class at Ledgends (dba Alaska Rock Gym). She was inexperienced in climbing, but active in other sport activities.


Prior to her first class Donahue signed a Participant Release of Liability, Waiver of Claims, Assumption of Risks, and Indemnity Agreement. She signed it voluntarily, but failed to read it carefully.   

Risk Management Audit at Heart of Rope-Climbing Lawsuit

Dr. John Wolohan, an authority on sport law and liability, examined a recent case in which a college employee was seriously injured when she fell from a climbing wall. The college had hired a risk management company to inspect the facility and evaluate their risk management program. The injured party filed suit against the risk management company because they failed to identify and recommend correction of the risk. Dr. Wolohan clarifies the liability of the company in this article published in AthleticBusiness.com.

“Snow Cases”: PART II – Waivers Enforced in Two Colorado Cases

By Doyice Cotten

Three snow tubing cases were discussed in last week’s post. Two more “snow” cases will be examined in this post with two more to follow next week.

Two Colorado cases are examined here. One case involves the enforcement of waivers in snow mobile rental case while the other involves a skiing accident.

Salazar v. On the Trail Rentals

Salazar v.

Michigan “Warrior Dash” Waiver Protects Against Negligence (But Not Gross Negligence or W/W Misconduct)

By Doyice Cotten

This is the first case encountered by the author that has resulted from one of the popular adventure-obstacle races such as Spartan Race and Tough Mudder. Here, the waiver used for Warrior Dash is challenged.


In July 2011, James Sa participated in a two-day event known as the “Warrior Dash” which is a 5k running race with obstacles, including jumping over fire, wall climbing,

California Court Dismisses Lawsuit Against Online “Virtual Race Organizer” Strava

By Alexander “Sandie” Pendleton

On June 2013, a San Francisco trial court ordered a wrongful death lawsuit commenced against the Strava website operators dismissed. The court agreed with Strava that “cycling is inherently risky,” and that the deceased cyclist assumed the risk when he chose to race on a public course. Based on the ruling, the court held that the parents of the deceased cyclist could not proceed with their wrongful death claims.