By Doyice Cotten
In Hojnowski v. Vans Skate Park (2006), The New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that parental waivers of liability (those signed by parents on behalf of their minor child) are not enforceable in New Jersey. In that same decision, it also ruled that parental arbitration agreements (those signed by parents on behalf of their minor child) are enforceable. The rationale in these decisions has been that a liability waiver, if enforced, takes away the rights of the minor for compensation for loss;
The sport, recreation, and fitness provider has long made use of liability waivers for protection from liability for provider negligence. There is a growing trend toward the inclusion of an arbitration agreement within the waiver; however, there is considerable controversy regarding the wisdom of this inclusion. Here, the authors address some of the pros and cons of the arbitration agreement that the provider and his or her counsel should consider in deciding the issue. It may well be that the choice will vary somewhat depending upon the nature of the business entity and the state in which the business is located.