Q: In NYS state, should we sign a liability waiver that includes waiver of willful/gross negligence
Our child’s school is requiring us to sign a liability waiver that includes willful and/gross negligence to attend a mandatory, all-day retreat. He is not allowed to graduate without it and we’ve been told we are not allowed to alter the language of the release.
A: I'm sorry you were placed into this position. In general, such liability waivers are not looked kindly upon by courts, for reasons of public policy. In terms of your question of whether or not you should sign it, it's an individual decision. As a general premise, such agreements can be enforceable nationwide, and at the same time, they can be challenged. That second element is always fact-specific, but it is something that plaintiff attorneys do attack in court. You could review the agreement, discuss it with other parents and local attorneys, and hopefully that could help in your decision. Good luck
1 user found this answer helpful
I believe purported waivers of gross negligence are void and enforceable as against public policy. No one should be asking you to sign such a waiver.
Jonathan R. Ratchik agrees with this answer
A: Under New York General Obligations Law § 5-326, agreements exempting places of public amusement or recreation from liability are void and unenforceable. Even if the retreat does not fall into one of these categories, agreements than exempt parties from willful or gross negligence are unenforceable as a matter of public policy. You can always cross out the language in question and see if they'll still allow your child to attend.
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