Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Are releases and injury waivers enforceable?

In Redden v. Clear Creek Skiing Corporation, 490 P.3d 1063 (Colo. App. 2020), the Colorado appellate court recently rejected the case of a Loveland area skier injured while getting off a chair lift.  

Instead, the court upheld the validity of two "exculpatory agreements," a waiver which skier Redden signed nearly a year before the incident when she bought ski boots and had her ski bindings adjusted at defendant Clear Creek's ski shop, and another unsigned waiver consisting of a series of disclaimers listed on the back of her lift ticket.

Though fact specific, the take away is that claim releases, injury waivers, risk disclaimers, liability limits and the like may be enforceable and have ramifications much later, even if contained in the so-called fine print most people read over quickly (if at all).

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As an update, the profession's respected Colorado Lawyer (April 2023 edition) contains a lengthy article by plaintiff's personal injury lawyers asserting (p. 45) "Redden holds that, under exculpatory waivers and releases built into season pass agreements or printed on lift passes, skiers [now] waive their rights to ... sue Colorado ski area operators" for negligence.  The Colorado Supreme Court declined to review the Redden decision, thus making it Colorado law.

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