Brief Fact Summary.
A man was injured skiing, but had signed a waiver releasing the resort of liability.
Synopsis of Rule of Law.
An exculpatory contract is void as a matter of public policy.
According to the Restatement, an exculpatory agreement should be upheld if it is (1) freely and fairly made, (2) between parties who are in an equal bargaining position, and (3) there is no social interest with which it interferes.View Full Point of Law
Plaintiff was skiing at a resort operated by the defendant. While skiing, he ran into a chair lift pole, and was seriously injured. However, when he bought his ticket to ski the mountain, he signed a release of liability waiver contract, that included a waiver of standing for negligence.
Can the defendant enforce a contract that disclaims negligence?
No, such a contract is void as a matter of public policy.
The court finds that a contract that permits a defendant to be negligent is void as a matter of public policy. They reason that when a business offers services to the general public, there is a public policy interest in maintaining a level of care far exceeding negligence. To allow a business to use a contract to circumvent this general interest is in contravention to public policy.