Tag Archives: Hawaii

Interesting Ruling by a Hawaii Court as to Enforcement of Admiralty Law Waivers

By Doyice Cotten

Admiralty law applied in a recent Hawaii case in which a man died during a scuba dive trip (Hambrook v. Smith, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 109484). Hambrook drowned, at least in part, due to negligence on the part of the boat owner and its dive instructor. Suit was filed naming the owner, dive instructor, and Padi Worldwide Corporation as defendants. The defendants relied on a liability waiver signed by the deceased.

Hawaii Case Illustrates Why Admiralty Law Can be Important to Recreation Providers

By Doyice Cotten
Mark Strickert took his wife and two children on a snorkeling trip. He and his wife signed waivers on behalf of themselves and their children. The trip consisted of six scuba divers and six snorkelers (including the four Strickerts), two crew members and Mr. Neal (the party in charge) who stayed on the boat while the others entered the water. At some point the weather worsened causing extremely high winds and large waves. Neal signaled the snorkelers and divers to return to the boat.

Hawaii Statute Prohibiting Waivers Enforced in Scuba Case

By Doyice Cotten

In a recent ruling, the U.S. District Court of Hawaii ruled that a liability waiver could not protect a scuba diving business from liability for negligence (Hambrook v. Smith, 2015). William Savage died while scuba diving with Hawaiian Scuba Shack; his wife, Sandra Hambrook filed suit against the company as well as PADI.

Savage had signed a liability waiver which the plaintiff claimed was unenforceable against public policy because it violated a state statute prohibiting liability waivers in recreational activities.

Hawaii Waiver Law Clarified: Waivers Don’t Protect Against Negligence!!!

By Doyice Cotten

Waiver law in Hawaii has been unclear for some time. In the past, waivers have been enforced in Hawaii, however, in 1997 the Hawaii Legislature passed HRS § 663-1.54 which read in part:

(a) Any person who owns or operates a business providing recreational activities to the public, such as, without limitation, scuba or skin diving, sky diving, bicycle tours, and mountain climbing, shall exercise reasonable care to ensure the safety of patrons and the public,