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Cahalane v. Skydive Cape Cod, Inc.

Massachusetts Superior Court
33 Mass. L. Rptr. 474 (2016)


Facts

Tricia Cahalane (plaintiff) knew before she went skydiving with Skydive Cape Cod, Inc. (SCC) (defendant) that it entailed risks of serious injury or death. That day, she signed several documents that said she “assumed the risk of serious injury and/or death and agree[d] never to sue SCC or any other parties involved.” By signing, she acknowledged that she had “been adequately informed about [the] dangers and risks” to sign waivers. An employee offered Cahalane an opportunity to buy a release from the waivers for $750, but she declined. When she asked what the release meant, an employee explained that “it was just standard waiver language and nobody ever bought it.” Cahalane jumped tandem with an instructor who performed a “hook turn” just before landing, pivoting at least 180 degrees. At the time, hook turns were not yet prohibited. Instead of landing in a seated position as instructed, Cahalane landed with her legs straight down and broke both femurs. Cahalane sued for negligence, claiming the waivers were unconscionable and thus unenforceable. Cahalane also pleaded separate claims alleging deceit and misrepresentation, but submitted no admissible evidence to support those claims. Skydive Cape Cod requested summary judgment as to all claims.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Curran, J.)

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