Sunday, March 26, 2023

In Case of First Impression PA Superior Court Rules That A Parent Cannot Waive Child's Right To Jury Trial

In the case of Santiago v. Philly Trampoline Park, LLC, No. 2615 EDA 2021 (Pa. Super. March 21, 2023 Bowes, J., King, J., and Pellegrini, J.) (Op. by Bowes, J.), the Superior Court addressed an issue of first impression in Pennsylvania in these consolidated appeals, that being whether a parent’s role as natural guardian entitles the parent to bind a minor child to an arbitration agreement and waive that child’s right to seek redress for injuries in a court of law.  

In the consolidated appeal, the Superior Court also addressed whether one spouse's signature on a waiver form could bind the other spouse to be limited to only pursuing a recovery at arbitration.

The appellate court affirmed the lower court rulings that answered this question in the negative and concluded that the claims presented were indeed permitted to head to a jury trial as opposed to arbitration.

Overall, the Pennsylvania Superior Court, after reviewing the law of agency and contract law, concluded that the trial courts had properly ruled that no agreements at issue served to bind the children or the non-signing spouses to resolve their negligence claims in arbitration rather than by way of a personal injury lawsuit in the courts.

More specifically, the Pennsylvania Superior Court agreed with the trial court findings that the trampoline facility had failed to meet its burden to show that the signatory spouses were the agents of the non-signing spouses.

The court additionally held that the parent-child relationship did not empower the signatory parents to waive their minor children’s rights to have their claims resolved in a personal injury lawsuit in a court of law as opposed to arbitration.

As such, the lower court's Orders were affirmed.

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

Source: “Pennsylvania Civil Law Case Alerts,” as provided by Pennsylvania Bar Association.

Source of image:  Photo by Ben Moses on

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