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Liability Waiver in Motorcycle Safety Class Stricken as Unenforceable
Description Appeals court held that public policy interests prevents the enforcement of a waiver of liability for acts of negligence by instructors that all students in a motorcycle safety class were required to sign.
Topic Torts
Key Words Liability Waivers, Public Policy
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Fortson enrolled in a two-day motorcycle safety program, taught by defendant, which was held at a community college. To attend, Fortson had to sign a waiver form releasing all parties from liability for any injuries, including those attributed to negligence by those offering the course. Fortson was injured when the throttle on the motorcycle to which she had been assigned stuck. She contended that defendant knew the throttle was defective and sued him for negligence. Trial court dismissed the suit, holding that the waiver was a bar to recovery. Fortson appealed.
Decision Reversed. Releases that exculpate persons from liability for negligence are not favored by the law, but they may be enforced unless they violate a statute, are gained by unequal bargaining power, or are contrary to public policy. "The public interest in minimizing the risks associated with motorcycle use have been recognized in case law and regulated by statute." "Having entered into the business of instructing the public in motorcycle safety, the defendant cannot, by contract, dispense with the duty to instruct with reasonable safety." The waiver is not enforceable.
Citation Fortson v. McClellan,, --S.E.2d-- (1998 WL 865149, Ct. App., N.C.)
508 S.E.2d 549 (Ct. App., N.C., 1998)

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