Ashley Larson obtained summary judgment in a premises liability matter, in which a plaintiff sought to circumvent a valid waiver of liability when suing a recreational facility for personal injuries. The Plaintiff alleged she utilized “defective equipment” at the recreational facility causing her to sustain “serious injuries necessitating surgery on her back requiring medical, surgical, and rehabilitative treatment.” However, upon joining the recreational facility, the plaintiff had entered a valid and enforceable membership agreement which contained waiver of liability and assumption of the risk exculpatory provisions.
In Colorado, when evaluating the enforceability of an exculpatory agreement, a Court must consider “(1) the existence of a duty to the public; (2) the nature of the service performed; (3) whether the contract was fairly entered into; and (4) whether the intention of the parties is expressed in clear and unambiguous language.” Jones v. Dressel, 623 P.2d 370, 376 (Colo. 1981).
The United States District Court for the District of Colorado held the recreational facility’s exculpatory provisions satisfied the four Jones factors. Plaintiff attempted to argue that the agreement did not clearly and unambiguously release the recreational facility from injuries caused by allegedly defective equipment. In enforcing the waiver of liability, the District Court found “it [was] irrefutable that the Exculpatory Provisions clearly reflect[ed] an intent to extinguish liability for Plaintiff’s type of claim, and that Plaintiff’s alleged injuries are the type of injuries contemplated by the [agreement].” The Court granted the recreational facility’s motion for summary judgment, entered judgment in favor of the recreational facility, and awarded the recreational facility its costs.