Exculpatory Language Struck Down

The Connecticut Supreme Court has ruled that an exculpatory clause in a form signed at a snowboarding and snowtubing facility did not bar the plaintiff’s claim.

The Court rejected Plaintiff’s argument that the agreement was ambigious. The Court said “[w]e conclude that the agreement expressly and unambiguously purports to release the defendants from prospective liability for negligence.”

However, the Court said that the exculpatory clause was void as against public policy. The Court acknowledged that ” most states
uphold adhesion contracts releasing recreational operators from prospective liability for personal injuries caused by their own negligent conduct.” However, the Court held that several factors, including the fact that the plaintiff was relying on the defendants to make the premises safe and the fact that the contract was a “take it or leave it” proposition, to declare the clause void.

The decision has a great summary of the law around the nation on the enforceability of exculpatory clauses.