Thursday, June 7, 2018

Release Language in Ski Waiver Form Upheld as Supporting Summary Judgment

In the case of Kibler v. Blue Knob Recreation, Inc., No. 903 WDA 2017 (Pa. Super. April 19, 2018 Ford Elliot, P.J.E., Bowes, J.; Stabile, J., concurring) (Op. by Ford Elliot, P.J.E.), the court affirmed the trial court’s entry of summary judgment after finding that the Defendant’s release or waiver form was valid and enforceable in a downhill skiing accident case.  

The Plaintiff attempted to get around the waiver form he signed by asserting that his accident was caused when the Plaintiff attempted to ski over an area where there were wheel ruts left in the snow by an ATV used by a resort employee.

The Superior Court affirmed the trial court’s finding that wheel ruts left by a vehicle operated by the Defendant’s employees are an inherent risk of downhill skiing for which the Defendant ski resort had no duty to protect skiers.   The court additionally noted that tire tracks in snow do not amount to evidence of reckless conduct on the part of the ski resort so as to get around the terms of the release signed by the Plaintiff. 

Relative to the waiver signed by the Plaintiff, the court found that the release terms did not contravene law or public policy.  

The court additionally reaffirmed the well-settled principle of law that the alleged failure to read a release is not a defense.  

Anyone wishing to review a copy of this decision may click HERE.

I send thanks to Attorney James M. Beck of the Philadelphia office of the Reed Smith law firm for bringing this case to my attention.  

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