South-Western Legal Studies in Business

Liability Release Does Not Apply to Seller's Negligence in Connecticut
Description Connecticut high court held that a liability release signed by a patron of a snow tubing facility did not expressly release the operator from liability for accidents attributed to its negligence in construction and maintenance. The injured patron may proceed to demonstrate that the accident was due to negligence by the facility, not the patron.
Topic Torts
Key Words Liability Release; Negligence; Application
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Hyson was injured while snow tubing at a facility operated by White Water Mountain Resorts. She claimed that the trail used for tubing was improperly maintained and unsafe, as she could not stop at the bottom of a hill, and as a result, injured her hand and wrist. The facility responded that it was not subject to liability because Hyson had signed a liability release that accepted the risks inherent in snow tubing, and she agreed to hold harmless the facility for any loss or damage. The trial court dismissed the suit. Hyson appealed.
Decision

Reversed and remanded. An agreement purporting to release or indemnify the proprietor of a recreational facility prospectively may not be applied to damages arising from that party’s negligence in the absence of express language so indicating. The discussion of risks in the sport does not cover accidents caused by the negligence of the facility in the maintenance of the property. This is an area of law in which there is a disagreement among the courts. Some courts hold to this view, others find that a general release also applies to negligence. The latter is not to be the case in Connecticut.

Citation Hyson v. White Water Mountain Resorts of Connecticut, 829 A.2d 827 (Sup. Ct., Conn., 2003)

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