September 24, 2007
Keystone State Mulls Liability Waivers
People like to do things that are fun, but dangerous -- like skiing. Those who operate the places where these fun but dangerous things occur -- like ski slope operators -- routinely get participants to sign waivers of liability before they permit them to engage in the activity.
Whether these waivers are enforceable as a matter of contract law is a hot issue in many states, including Pennsylvania, where the courts seem split on the question. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has granted allocatur in one case in which the lower court found that an oral promise by a ski lift attendant superseded the written liability waiver. Meanwhile, another lower court found that a waiver was broad enough to let the ski resort off the hook even for its own negligence.
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