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Hulsey v. Elsinore Parachute Center

214 Cal. Rptr. 194 (1985)

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Hulsey v. Elsinore Parachute Center

California Court of Appeal

214 Cal. Rptr. 194 (1985)

Facts

Anthony Hulsey (plaintiff) enrolled in a first-jump course given by Elsinore Parachute Center (Elsinore) (defendant). Although Hulsey did not remember filling out or signing the Parachute Center Adult Registration Form or the Agreement and Release of Liability, he admitted that the initials and signatures on the forms were his. Hulsey initialed next to a paragraph in all capital letters stating that he was aware that parachute jumping was a hazardous activity and that he voluntarily participated knowing the danger involved and agreed to accept all risk of injury. The third paragraph stated that Hulsey would not sue Elsinore for injury or damage resulting from negligence and that he would release and discharge Elsinore for all injury resulting from parachuting. The fourth paragraph, which had Hulsey’s signature on it, was in bold all-caps type and stated Hulsey read and fully understood the agreement. The release was printed in 10-point type for both capital and lowercase letters. Hulsey admitted he voluntarily enrolled in the first-jump course and was not coerced in any way during the registration process. During his jump, Hulsey hit nearby power lines and saw a bright flash. He next remembered regaining consciousness on the ground with a broken wrist. Hulsey sued Elsinore for negligence and strict liability. Hulsey argued that he could not have been expected to understand the agreement’s legal consequences and that the exculpatory contract should not be enforced because it would be unconscionable. Summary judgment was entered for Elsinore. The trial court was concerned with whether the agreement Hulsey signed was enforceable and whether sport parachuting is an extra-hazardous activity.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (McDaniel, J.)

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