Tuesday, July 24, 2012

PA Supreme Court Addresses Pre-Activity Releases


In its recent decision in the case of Tayar v. Camelback Ski Corp., Inc., No. 67 MAP 2010 (Pa. July 18, 2012 Todd, J.), the Pennsylvania Supreme Court addressed the issue of whether it is against public policy to release reckless behavior in a pre-injury exculpatory clause.

The Appellant, Camelback Ski Corporation, Inc., is a ski resort located in the Poconos.  Before permitting its customers to participate in snow tubing activities, Camelback requires each customer to sign a pre-printed release form.

In 2003, the Appellee was injured while engaging in snow tubing activities after having signed a release as required by the ski resort.  The injured party sustained multiple fractures in her right leg which were repaired by surgery.

The Superior Court had determined that the release at issue was valid only with respect to Camelback and not the ski resort's employee that was involved in the event, and relieved Camelback from liability for only negligent conduct.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court reversed the lower court's order in part, affirmed in part, and remanded the case. The Supreme Court reversed the order of the Superior Court by concluding that the ski resort's employee was indeed covered by the Release.

The Supreme Court affirmed the lower court's order with respect to the finding that "releasing recklessness in a pre-injury release is against public policy."  In other words, the ski resort's release form attempting to release the resort and its employees for liability for reckless conduct was invalid.

Anyone wishing to review this decision by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in the case of Tayar v. Camelback Ski Corp., Inc. may click this LINK.  (Note also that there were two concurring and dissenting opinions which are not linked to here).

I send thanks to Attorney Paul Oven of the Moosic, PA office of Dougherty, Leventhal & Price and Attorney Scott Cooper of the Harrisburg, PA office of Schmidt Kramer for bringing this case to my attention.

Source of Image: www.snowtubes.com

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