At issue in this case was whether an exculpatory clause that purported to release respondent/cross-appellant from “any and all claims” related to use of its inflatable amusement play area was enforceable against a claim of negligence. Appellant/cross-respondent attended a party at respondent’s play area, and his mother signed a waiver on behalf of appellant and herself. Appellant was subsequently injured when he fell from the top of an inflatable and hit his head on the carpet-covered concrete floor. After appellant turned 18, he sued respondent, claiming that respondent negligently operated the inflatables in its play area without adequate padding on the floor. At issue was whether the waiver signed by appellant’s mother bared appellant’s claim.
The Supreme Court held that an exculpatory clause, like an indemnity clause, is subject to strict construction, such that a provision that purportedly releases a company from “any and all claims” is not enforceable against a claim for negligence where the provision does not sufficiently express a clear and unequivocal intent to release the company from the company’s own negligence. Here, the waiver did not specifically reference respondent’s own conduct or otherwise sufficiently express that respondent was being released from liability for its own negligence. Reversed and remanded.
A20-1318 Justice v. Marvel, LLC (Court of Appeals)
Albert Isiaka Usumanu was publicly reprimanded.