If you've ever read the contract associated with your ski resort season pass, you know you've agreed to waive your right to sue the resort for its negligent actions. This is pretty standard. However, it seems the industry is getting a bit more clever, and is adding an additional waiver.
Mountain Creek, New Jersey's largest ski resort, requires season pass holders to waive liability for all past injuries. If you're injured during the 2011-12 season, you can't file a ski injury lawsuit and obtain a season pass for 2012-13.
If you do, you risk having your lawsuit dismissed.
This is exactly what happened to Derek Dearnley. After being injured during the 2008-09 season, he filed a ski injury lawsuit against Mountain Creek. When he obtained a 2009-10 season pass, the waiver agreement included these terms:
I further release and give up any and all claims and rights that I may now have against Mountain Creek Resort, Inc. This releases all claims, including those of which I am not aware and those not mentioned in this release. This release applies to claims resulting from anything which has happened up to now.
A New Jersey appellate court has upheld the dismissal of Dearnley's lawsuit , finding that he waived his right to continue his suit when he agreed to these terms. Chances are Dearnley didn't even read the waiver. If he had, he probably wouldn't have signed on.
There's no telling if ski resorts across the country will be adding similar terms to their waivers. It wouldn't be surprising if they did. So if you have any plans of filing a ski injury lawsuit, don't subsequently purchase a season pass at the same resort. And if you must, closely read any associated terms.
- New Jersey Court Upholds Dismissal of Lawsuit Against Mountain Creek (First Tracks)
- Will Your Contract Be Enforced Under the Law? (FindLaw)
- Ski Accidents: When to Sue, When Not to Sue (FindLaw's Injured)