Tag Archives: scuba

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.

A Look at Mississippi Waiver Law

By Doyice Cotten

Mississippi waiver law is not crystal clear in spite of several Supreme Court of Mississippi rulings. Some major considerations are addressed in the following.

Quinn v. Mississippi State University (1998)

An important liability waiver case addressed by the Mississippi Supreme Court (Quinn v. Mississippi State University, 1998) involved a 12-year-old baseball player at a summer baseball camp. The father and the boy signed a pre-printed liability waiver.

Waivers, Wrongful Death, and New Jersey: A Caution

By Doyice Cotten

When a person participating in a recreational or sports activity is killed due to the negligence or recklessness of the activity provider, it is apparent that the deceased party cannot sue the responsible party for damages. In such cases, the heirs of the deceased may file a wrongful death claim. Wrongful death is an action brought on behalf of a deceased person’s beneficiaries that alleges the cause of the death was the negligent, reckless, or willful act of another.