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Gross v. Sweet

New York Court of Appeals
400 N.E.2d 306 (1979)


When Bruce Gross (plaintiff) signed up for skydiving lessons at the Stormville Parachute Center Training School, he told owner William Sweet (defendant) that he had an orthopedic pin in his leg. Sweet nonetheless accepted Gross as a student. Gross signed a release that stated, “I . . . waive any and all claims that I . . . may have . . . for any personal injuries . . . that I may sustain or which may arise out of my learning, practicing, or actually jumping from an aircraft.” Gross took the standard introductory one-hour lesson on land, which included oral instruction and several jumps off a 30-inch high table, then took his first practice jump from an airplane, suffering injuries when he hit the ground. Gross sued Sweet for negligence, breach of warranty, and gross negligence, asserting that Sweet failed to provide adequate training, safe equipment, and sufficient warning of the dangers of skydiving, and violated Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) rules governing skydiving schools. The trial court granted Sweet summary judgment on the basis of the release, but the appellate court reversed, prompting Sweet to appeal further.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Fuchsberg, J.)

Dissent (Jones, J.)

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