Tag Archives: Colorado

Help in Recognizing Ambiguity in Your Waiver

By Doyice Cotten

Ambiguity is one of the most prevalent claims when challenging the enforceability of liability waivers. This post involves a case in which a waiver is claimed to be ambiguous. We focus on the arguments by the plaintiff and the reasoning of the court in addressing the issue.

Jodi Sheldon suffered serious injury while participating in a high ropes course at the Golden Bell Ranch in Colorado. She sued claiming negligence naming Golden Bell,

Do Waivers Protect when the Injured Party has a Disability?

By Doyice Cotten

Sometimes activity providers are reluctant to offer activities to participants with disabilities because they fear possible injury and have doubt as to whether their liability waiver would be enforceable against a person with a disability. The following is a case that is more than 20 years old, but that accurately illustrates that there is no “special waiver law” for the disabled.

Franklin Potter, a skilled and experienced handicapped skier, was injured in the National Handicapped Downhill Championships race.

High Ropes Course Waiver Protects Provider and Builder Under Colorado Law

By Doyice Cotten

In  June, 2018, Jodi Sheldon was seriously injured while participating in a high ropes course at the Golden Bell Ranch. She sued Golden Bell Retreat, Cross Bearing Adventures (“CBA”), the company which constructed the course and trained employees, and it’s owner Kent McIlhany. alleging negligence (Sheldon v. Golden Bell Retreat, 2020). All three defendants claimed Ms. Sheldon’s claims are barred by a waiver and indemnification agreement signed by Sheldon.

The Waiver

The waiver read,

Injured Ski Patron Claims “No Consideration” when Purchase was Online and Waiver Executed Two Days Later

By Doyice Cotten

Ms. Patterson bought a ski lift ticket online, paying $57. Two days later she picked up her ticket at the resort. The front of this lift ticket contained an adhesive sticker, designed to be removed and adhered to a wicket on the ticket holder’s clothing, on which Ms. Patterson’s name, the ticket type, and a bar code were printed. The back of the lift ticket, like all lift tickets issued by Monarch Mountain on March 20,

Colorado Club Member Injured When He Steps onto a Moving Treadmill

By Doyice Cotten

Robert Wagner,  a Life Time Fitness client, suffered injury when he stepped onto a treadmill that was already in motion. No detail was given as to how the club was negligent (Wagner v. LTF Club Operations Company, Inc. (2019). Since Wagner failed to designate specific facts showing that there was a genuine issue for trial, there was no evidence that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party. Consequently,

Defective Rowing Machine & No “Out of Order” Sign — Waiver Protected

By Doyice Cotten

AnneMichelle Johnson, a member of Gold’s Gym Rockies, LLC, sustained an injury when trying to use a rowing machine. She set her usual resistance, tried to pull, heard a pop in her back, and the pull bar did not move. She set resistance at zero, tried to pull again, and it did not move. About that time an employee came over and told her it was broken and he was there to fix it.

She found her back was severely injured and filed a premises liability suit alleging negligence (Johnson v.

U.S. District Colorado Court of Appeals Addresses Unsigned Waiver (Disclaimer) on Lift Ticket

 By Doyice Cotten

Carolyn Raup was injured dismounting a chairlift. The lift ticket was purchased for her by her daughter and son-in-law. The ticket had a waiver on its back side and a warning on the front reading “IMPORTANT WARNING ON REVERSE.” She sued alleging negligence plus other claims. The trial court ruled that Vail was protected by the waiver language. She appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals in this action (Raup v. Vail Summit Resorts,

Should the Specific Risks of the Activity Be Listed in the Waiver?

By Doyice Cotten

 A 2018 New Mexico rappelling case (Dominguez v. United States, 2018) illustrates clearly why it is important that waivers warn the signing client of the risks faced in the activity.

Sarah Dominguez, a civilian, participated in a team-building activity at the Para-Rescue Academy at Kirkland Air Force Base. She informed the person in charge that she had never rappelled; she said later that she had been informed there would be no climbing involved in the activity. 

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;

Choice-of-Law Provision Fails: Waiver Falls under Vermont Law

By Doyice Cotten

Brian Kearney was seriously injured while competing in a USSA sanctioned amateur downhill ski race at Okemo Mountain Resort in Ludlow, Vermont, in February, 2015. USSA members were eligible to participate and membership required signing a liability waiver (Kearney v. Okemo Limited Liability Company, 2016).

The waiver contained the following exculpatory provision:

Member hereby unconditionally WAIVES AND RELEASES ANY AND ALL CLAIMS, AND AGREES TO HOLD HARMLESS,