Tag Archives: assumption of risk

Legal Technicality Causes New York Acrobatics Instructional Waiver to Fail to Protect

By Doyice Cotten

Shana Guins, a 32 years-old woman who stood 5′ 3″ in height and weighed 180 pounds, was injured  and rendered a quadriplegic during an acrobatics class. She was asked to bounce on a mini-trampoline and land with a forward roll. She had been given instruction and had previously performed the task successfully.

Defendant pointed out that she made statements to the medical staff after the accident that she was tired after a previous class and after a night of hard drinking.

Riding a Mechanical Bull after much “Socializing” Might Not be the Best Idea!

Doyice Cotten

Joseph Kuchta, while socializing with friends at Gilley’s Nightclub in Sparks, Nevada, observed the operation of a mechanical bull. He expressed interest in a gentle ride like the ones he had observed, termed a 2 out of a possible 10 in roughness. The employee demonstrated how easy a slow ride was and Kuchta agreed to do it. He was required to sign a liability waiver which stated the potential risks and possible injuries involved in riding the bull,

An Outline of the Assumption of the Risk Doctrine in California

By Doyice Cotten

The doctrine of assumption of risk provides liability protection for sport and recreation providers in many states. This post attempts to summarize or outline the doctrine in California and show how liability waivers fit in. Your state may be similar or your state may be one in which the doctrine is no longer followed. This outline is drawn from statements in Knight v. Jewett (1992), an important California Supreme Court case and a few more cases as noted.

Kentucky Health Club Allowed To Produce Waiver To Show That The Club Did Not Breach Its Standard Of Care

 By Doyice Cotten

Lori Hassler joined Results by Design, LLC in order to begin a training regimen in the hope of “toning up” for her daughter’s upcoming wedding. She listed her goals on intake paperwork as a tighter abdomen, muscle definition in arms, and more energy. She was aware that she suffered from diabetic kidney disease. The trainers put together a coordinated exercise program, nutrition plan, and dietary supplementation (vitamins) regimen. After about six weeks on the plan,

Two Virginia Courts Admit Redacted Waivers to Show Plaintiff Understood the Risks

By Doyice Cotten

James McConnel was injured while participating in Segway Polo associated with Omni Hotels Management Corp. The issue came up as to the admissibility of the waiver signed by McConnel (McConnel v. Omni Hotels Mgmt. Corp., 2017).  Since prospective waivers of liability are void as against public policy under Virginia law (Hiett v. Lake Barcroft Cmty. Ass’n, Inc., 1992),  Omni asked the court to rule that the “Segway Personal Transporter Tours Liability Release Form”

University Study-Abroad Student Drowned in Costa Rica

By Doyice Cotten

Note: This is the third consecutive post (involving law in three states in three types of activity) in which assumption of risk has played a major role.

20-Year-old Erik Downes, college student at Oglethorpe University, drowned in the Pacific Ocean while he was in Costa Rica attending a study-abroad program. His parents brought a wrongful death suit against the university alleging negligence and gross negligence. Oglethorpe argued that 1) it owed no legal duty to Downes;

Assumption of Risk Determines Ruling in a Washington Tubing Case

By Doyice Cotten

This case has some similarities to the Swigart v. Bruno California case in last week’s post.  Each case was determined by an assumption of risk and not by a waiver of liability.

Pellham participated in an inner tube float in which his tube struck a fallen log in the water. The plaintiff sued the rental company claiming that the defendants owed him a duty to warn about a fallen log in the river and for gross negligence (Pellham v.

A Waiver is not Always Necessary! Primary Assumption of Risk

By Doyice Cotten

Kathleen Swigart entered a long distance horse riding event conducted by the American Endurance Ride Conference (AERC), a national governing and record-keeping body for “long distance horse riding.” An endurance ride is  “a highly competitive and demanding sport” in which the riders follow a specific course, collecting playing cards at set checkpoints along the route to verify having completed the entire course before crossing the finish line.

At the eight-mile checkpoint, seven horses were close together in a single line.

Very Broad Waiver Protects in Spite of Fact a Signed Waiver was not Produced

 By Doyice Cotten

Theresa Brigance was injured at Vail while taking beginning skiing lessons. Vail claimed no liability on the basis of a required liability waiver. Brigance’s ski boot became wedged under the chair in the ski lift. Interestingly, Vail was unable to produce a signed waiver in court.(Brigance v. Vail Summit Resorts, Inc., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 5447)

Liability waivers sometimes fail because they are not broad enough to cover the circumstances of the incident;

Poorly Written New York Church Waiver Fails

By Doyice Cotten

Panagiota Melis, a member of the Helenic Orthodox Church, slipped and fell on snow and ice in the Church’s parking lot after parking her vehicle. She filed suit against the church alleging negligence (Melis v. Helenic Orthodox Community, 2017 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 981).

The church claimed protection from a waiver and assumption of risk document signed previously by the plaintiff. The court ruled that General Obligations Law (“GOL”) 5-326 did not apply and did not serve to prevent the enforcement of the waiver because the church was not a place of amusement or recreation.