Tag Archives: wrongful death

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court Rules that Waiver is Unenforceable in Wrongful Death Triathlon Case

By Doyice Cotten

Notice of Error: The ruling was erroneously reported in this post. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that the waiver was enforceable.

Derek Valentino drowned during the swimming leg of the Philadelphia Triathlon in 2010 (Valentino v. Philadelphia Triathlon, LLC., 2019). A wrongful death suit was filed by his children alleging negligence, gross negligence, outrageous acts, and recklessness. The trial court disallowed all except the claim of ordinary negligence.

The defense claimed protection against negligence based on the waiver and release of liability signed by Derek prior to the race.

University Study-Abroad Student Drowned in Costa Rica

By Doyice Cotten

Note: This is the third consecutive post (involving law in three states in three types of activity) in which assumption of risk has played a major role.

20-Year-old Erik Downes, college student at Oglethorpe University, drowned in the Pacific Ocean while he was in Costa Rica attending a study-abroad program. His parents brought a wrongful death suit against the university alleging negligence and gross negligence. Oglethorpe argued that 1) it owed no legal duty to Downes;

Waiver and Indemnity Agreement Upheld for Ordinary Negligence in Massachusetts Triathlon Case

By Doyice Cotten

Richard Angelo died during the swimming portion of a triathlon organized by USA Triathlon (USAT). In spite of Richard having signed a waiver and indemnity agreement, his wife Cheryl filed suit alleging negligence, gross negligence, pain and suffering, and infliction of emotional distress (Angelo v. USA Triathlon, 2014). The waiver read:

  1. I hereby Release, Waive and Covenant Not to Sue, and further agree to Indemnify, Defend and Hold Harmless the following parties: USAT,

California Court Dismisses Lawsuit Against Online “Virtual Race Organizer” Strava

By Alexander “Sandie” Pendleton

On June 2013, a San Francisco trial court ordered a wrongful death lawsuit commenced against the Strava website operators dismissed. The court agreed with Strava that “cycling is inherently risky,” and that the deceased cyclist assumed the risk when he chose to race on a public course. Based on the ruling, the court held that the parents of the deceased cyclist could not proceed with their wrongful death claims.


Waivers, Wrongful Death, and Colorado

By Doyice Cotten

William Bradford rented a snowmobile, accidentally struck a tree, and was killed leaving behind a spouse and a son by a former spouse. The survivors filed a wrongful death claim against the rental company, On the Trail Rentals, Inc. (Salazar v. On the Trail Rentals, Inc., 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 25880).

Prior to his death, Bradford had signed a waiver of liability which included the following pertinent language related to warning of inherent risks;

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.