Tag Archives: Colorado

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,

Unforced Errors: The Scope of the Waiver MUST be Clear!!!

Doyice J. Cotten

FACT: A well-written waiver willingly signed by an adult participant can protect the service provider from liability for the provider’s negligence in most states.

FACT: Many waivers fail because of what might be termed “unforced errors” on the part of the writer in making clear the scope of the waiver.

In this post, I am reporting several recent cases in which the waiver failed to protect the provider from negligence. The reader should be able to understand why the failure was preventable.

Oops, I Forgot to Administer the Waiver! What Happens Now?

By Doyice Cotten

Let me begin by saying this was an interesting and unusual case. It involves 20 year-old Megan Soucy, her mother, and her two minor sisters. It takes place on two days.

Day One – July 9

Megan and her family visit Nova Guides, Inc. and sign up for a Jeep tour. Intending to relieve Nova Guides from liability for injuries resulting from Nova negligence, Megan signs a waiver and her mother signs one on behalf of herself and her two minor daughters.

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,

Costa Rica Bike Tour Waiver Fails to Protect Colorado Tour Company

By Doyice Cotten

Sandra Steinfield fell from her bicycle and was injured during a bicycle tour vacation in Costa Rica. She and her husband filed suit in their home state of Pennsylvania; the case was moved to Colorado for trial under Colorado law (Steinfield v. EmPG Int’l, LLC, 2015).

The major issue in the case was whether a waiver and release signed by Steinfield barred the claims by Steinfield. The waiver was in two forms.

Sport Safety Statutes Can Affect the Effectiveness of Liability Waivers

By Doyice Cotten

Most states have enacted at least one of what are sometimes called sport safety acts or shared responsibility statutes (e.g., equine, ski, whitewater rafting) intended to define or limit the liability exposure of operators of selected activities.

Some of these statutes hold the operator to a duty of ordinary care. When they do, a waiver cannot protect the operator in the event of ordinary negligence. Other statutes prescribe a list of specific duties of the operator.

Waivers and Persons-with-Disabilities: Do the Same Rules Apply?

By Alexander “Sandie” Pendleton

 One positive development in the world of sports in the last two decades has been the substantial increase in opportunities available for persons with disabilities to engage in active recreational activities and competitions. But during that time there have been few cases addressing the enforceability of waiver-of-liability agreements, when activity or competition involved persons with disabilities. This has raised the question of whether in such cases courts will apply the same rules regarding waivers,