Tag Archives: ambiguity

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.

You Be the Judge – Test your Liability Knowledge

By Doyice Cotten

Occasionally, we offer the reader an opportunity to test his or her liability judgment. Take a few minutes and check this waiver and see if you think it protected the defendant health club from liability for negligence (Hoffner v. Fitness Xpress, 2016).


Charlotte Hoffner had been a member of Fitness Xpress, a health club in Michigan, for about two weeks when she slipped and fell on ice on the sidewalk in front of the club.

Admiralty Law Supports Liability Waiver in New Jersey Parasail Case

By Doyice Cotten

The Olmos and their two sons signed up for a parasailing trip. While on the boat traveling out of the inlet, Dina Olmo shifted her sitting position just as the boat hit a wave, lifting her into the air. When she landed she felt “a stabbing pain at the bottom of [her] back.”The boat immediately returned to the dock and she was taken to the hospital. The two sons remained to continue with their parasailing trip.

When an Adult Participant Signs a Waiver Written for Minors — Is the Waiver Enforceable?

By Doyice Cotten

In this case (Belliconish v. Fun Slides Carpet Skate Park, Inc., 2014 Pa. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 349), Mr. Belliconish took his family to an indoor skate park. He signed waivers on behalf of himself and his family. Fun Slides uses two waivers – one for adult participants and one for minor participants. Belliconish was inadvertently given a minor waiver which he signed.

After about an hour of skating, Belliconish fell,

Importance of Clarity of Meaning in Colorado Waivers

By Doyice Cotten

A 2015 Colorado case at a ski resort illustrates the importance of clarity of intent or meaning in liability waivers (Schlumbrecht-Muniz v. Steamboat Ski and Resort Corporation, 2015 U.S. Dist LEXIS 125899). Colorado courts examine four factors in determining the validity of a waiver. They are:

• whether the service provided involves a duty to the public
• the nature of the service provided
• whether the agreement was fairly entered into
• whether the agreement is clear and unambiguous

In this case,

Parental Waiver Ambiguity Caused by Failure to Specify that Both Parent’s and Minor’s Rights Are Waived

By Doyice Cotten

In a 2013 California case (Vahedy v. Remigio), a 16 year-old camper was injured while being transported by a camp volunteer back to the Jews for Jesus headquarters for the final night of the camp. Cecilia Vahedy’s father had signed a “Medical Authorization and Liaibilty Release.” There were a number of issues in the case, but the one addressed in this post regards the possible ambiguity created when the waiver fails to clearly specify that the parent is waiving both the parent’s and the minor participant’s right to sue.

California Court Rules on Waiver/Arbitration Clause Ambiguity Controversy

By Doyice Cotten

Many parties who suffer injuries after having signed a liability waiver still file suit and challenge the waiver in an attempt to collect damages. One of the most common allegations in the challenge is that the waiver is unenforceable because of ambiguity. In a 2012 health club case, a client was injured during a basketball game (Finley v. Club One, Inc., 2012 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 2444).


Pennsylvania Court Rules that Membership Contract Waiver Protects Against Negligence: No Reckless Conduct Found

By Doyice Cotten

 Cornelius Lister was injured when a fight occurred on the Fitness International basketball court (Lister v. Fitness International, LLC, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 45954).  He alleged that at least four men attacked him and that at least one of the men was not a member of the club. He claimed that the club was negligent in failing to adhere to club policies that provided that non-members could not use the basketball court.

Ambiguity in Missouri: Meaning of “any” and “any and all” in Waivers

By Doyice Cotten

Colleen Holmes, a participant in a racing event, tripped over an audio-visual box at the event. She filed suit against the television station claiming the waiver signed by the plaintiff was unenforceable because of ambiguity in the language (Holmes v. Multimedia KSDK, Inc., 2013).


(Participant must sign in order to be eligible to participate in Race): I understand that my consent to these provisions is given in consideration for being permitted to participate in this Event.