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Bench & Bar of Minnesota is the official publication of the Minnesota State Bar Association.

Recreational Liability Waivers

Every time you sign up a child for a soccer team, or you register for a day at a water park or a night at a pub crawl, you have no doubt signed a waiver of liability for the soccer club or event sponsor. When doing so, have you wondered, “Is this liability waiver actually worth more than the paper it’s written on?”

Statutorily, in Minnesota, the answer is now “Yes.” For liability waivers signed or accepted on or after August 1, 2013, Minn. Stat. §604.055 specifically provides that liability resulting from “ordinary negligence” may be limited, released or waived. However, the same is not true for “greater than ordinary negligence”—liability for such conduct cannot be signed away via a waiver. A consumer service waiver of “greater than
ordinary negligence” is against public policy and void and unenforceable. In addition, and importantly, the new statute provides that if a liability waiver contains unenforceable terms, those terms may be severed from the waiver, with the enforceable portions remaining in effect.

James L. Young

Westman, Champlin & Koehler, P.A.

Minneapolis

jyoung@wck.com

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