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Orlando, Florida

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Ed Normand
Ed Normand
Attorney • (866) 735-1102 Ext 336

Liability Releases for Children are Invalid

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In a recent decision in December 2008 entitled Kirton v. Fields , SC07-1739 (Fla. Dec. 11, 2008), the Florida Supreme Court ruled pre-injury releases even when signed by a parent for their own minor child are unenforceable as a defense in a tort action brought by the minor or the minor’s estate arising from injuries resulting from participation in a commercial activity. The case is limited by the facts to commercial activities but it may be applied to certain non-commercial activities.

This is important because no longer can a commercial activity run a sloppy shop, hurt kids and then get out of all liabilty when they hurt a child by relying on the fine print that they required to be signed before the child could participate. This is fair because the commercial providers are in position to purchase insurance to protect the children and should be penalized if they do not get insurance or if they are negligent. Without this ruling a commercial establishment could hire criminals, pedophiles, drunks etc…. with immunity for any harm to the children because of the fine print the parent had to sign. No kidding, the releases would often include immunity for all harm to the child including things like rape etc…. That is not right and the Florida Supreme Court should be commended for this ruling.

There are still some tricks that need to be looked out for including for releases with clauses requiring a parent to indemnify the activity provider if the child makes a claim. Feel free to contact me if you are a parent and are required to sign such a document before your child can participate in an activity.