Tag Archives: California

Waiver Protects Program for Youth with Disabilities for Liability for Negligence

By Doyice Cotten

Robert Rogers, an autistic child, participated in a program for youth with disabilities offered by Ability First. Robert’s grandmother (with authority from the mother) approved his participation in local neighborhood excursions and signed a waiver of liability releasing Ability from liability.

On the day of the incident, Ability took Robert on a “walking field trip” to a nearby Target store.

While walking back to Ability’s facility, Robert broke into a foot race with other Ability attendees to reach a gate in a chain link fence at an entrance to Ability’s grounds.

Group Waivers and the Risk of Fraud

By Doyice Cotten

Scott Storer was injured while riding his motorcycle on a motocross track  (Storer v. E Street MX, Inc., 2015 Cal App. Unpub. LEXIS 4029). Prior to beginning his ride, Scott was handed a clipboard and asked to sign his name.

He said the only thing on the clipboard that he could see were names of other riders that signed in. He explained there was one folded sheet of paper with signature lines at the top of the clipboard,

Regular Inspections, and Complete Records!! A MUST for Health Clubs . . .

By Doyice Cotten

In Chavez v. 24 Hour Fitness USA, Inc. (2015), Stacey Chavez was injured when the back panel of a “FreeMotion” cable crossover machine (“cross trainer”) struck her in the head. She subsequently filed suit. The machine was still in service despite a missing bracket and missing magnetic strips that were to secure the back panel.

24 Hour Fitness claimed it was not liable because she had signed a waiver of liability – a complete defense against negligence claims.

A Look at California Law on Negligence and Liability Waivers

By Doyice Cotten

In R.H. v. Los Gatos Union School District (2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 47035), a high school wrestler was injured when he wrestled a larger opponent in a match. There were many claims including mismatching and negligence. Prior to wrestling, the father of R.H. signed a liability waiver. Here we will only look at the waiver defense of the defendants.

When R.H. joined the wrestling team, his father signed the required “After School Sports Emergency/Health Insurance form”

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).

Interestingly,

California Town Dodges the “Fraud-Bullet” in Group Waiver Case

By Doyice Cotten

Ernest Jones sued the City of Ukiah alleging negligence after breaking his ankle while sliding into second base in a softball game. He claimed the city negligently supervised and maintained the fields causing an injury (Jones v. City of Ukiah, 2013 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 5125).

Jones had signed a group waiver which, frankly, left much to be desired in its format. Some of the problems were:

  • Title:
    • “2008 FALL MEN’S SOFTBALL LEAGUE SOFTBALL ROSTER FORM ALL PLAYERS MUST SIGN BELOW BEFORE THEY CAN PLAY.”

Waivers Upheld for Negligence in 3 of 4 Trail Ride Cases in 2013

By Doyice Cotten

Trail rides have been a risky proposition for women in 2013. As can be seen below, a well-written liability waiver for trail rides will provide protection for equine providers from liability for ordinary negligence in most states.

Utah

In Penunuri v. Sundance Partners, LTD (2013), the rider signed a pre-injury waiver prior to a guided trail ride. Lisa Penunuri was injured by falling from her horse when the horse unexpectedly accelerated to close the gap to the next rider.

A Cursory Look at California Waiver Law

By Doyice Cotten

Note: This posting is not intended to provide an comprehensive presentation on California waiver law, but rather to offer the reader a brief look at what some of the courts have said about waivers and their enforcement.

Requirements

“California courts require a high degree of clarity and specificity in a release in order to find that it relieves a party from liability for its own negligence.” (Cohen v.

Connecticut, California, and North Dakota Courts Address Parental Waivers

By Doyice Cotten

Recent 2013 cases in Connecticut, California, and North Dakota have addressed the question as to whether parents have the authority to sign away the rights of a minor to recover for injury resulting from the negligence of the provider.

California Case

Lotz v. The Claremont Club (2013 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 5748) involved a 10 year-old who was injured in a dodgeball game. It is well established that California law allows the enforcement of parental waivers provided the waiver is unambiguous and meets court requirements.