April 29, 2005
Nutmeg court ponders liability waiver
The Connecticut Supreme Court is pondering the question whether a ski-area operator can enforce the waivers it requires customers to sign. A report in the Connecticut Law Tribune outlines the arguments in the case, Hanks v. Power Ridge.
In it, an insurance salesman and his 12-year-old son went snow-tubing. The resort required them, as a condition of doing so, to sign a contract that noted that "serious physical injury or death" can result from the activity, and said that "I fully assume all risks associated with Snowtubing, even if due to the NEGLIGENCE of" the resort. Dad thought that the language was "so egregious" that no court would enforce it, so he signed. He was later injured, and claimed that the slopes were negligently designed.
Some states have statutes making such waivers enforceable, but Connecticut will apparently have to decide the issue on common law grounds.
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