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LaFrenz v. Lake Cty. Fair Bd.

Indiana Court of Appeals
360 N.E.2d 605 (1977)


Before Linda LaFrenz joined her husband in the pit area for a demolition derby, she signed a broad, general release. Titled “WAIVER AND RELEASE FROM LIABILITY AND INDEMNITY AGREEMENT,” the document stated that in exchange for entry into the restricted pit area, Linda released and waived any liability on the part of the Lake County Fair Board (defendant) for any injuries that might occur there. Superimposed over each signature line, large black print read “THIS IS A RELEASE,” meaning Linda had to sign directly on top of those words. Linda had been to several demolition derbies before and knew they involved cars crashing into each other. During the derby, a car jumped the barrier and hit Linda, causing fatal injuries. Her husband, David LaFrenz (plaintiff), sued the driver and the county fair board. The driver said someone told him the release was an insurance form, but David did not say anyone told Linda the same thing when she signed the release in his presence. The court granted summary judgment based on the release. David appealed, arguing disputed factual issues remained regarding whether Linda assumed the risk and signed the release knowingly and willingly.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Hoffman, J.)

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