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Yauger v. Skiing Enterprises, Inc.

Supreme Court of Wisconsin
557 N.W.2d 60 (1996)


Facts

Michael Yauger (plaintiff) purchased a season ski pass for his family from Skiing Enterprises, Inc., d/b/a Hidden Valley (Hidden Valley) (defendant). Yauger was required to fill out a form entitled “Application.” The form consisted of five paragraphs, the first of which included a waiver of liability for injuries incurred by the family in light of the “inherent risks of skiing.” The waiver paragraph was not distinct from the other paragraphs and did not require a separate signature. On March 7, 1993, Yauger’s daughter was killed while skiing after she ran into the concrete base of a chair-lift tower. Yauger and his wife sued Hidden Valley for wrongful death, claiming that Hidden Valley had negligently failed to pad the base of the lift tower. Hidden Valley moved for summary judgment, arguing that the exculpatory clause in the application form relieved it of any liability. The circuit court granted summary judgment in favor of Hidden Valley. The court of appeals affirmed, finding that the phrase “inherent risks in skiing” clearly described the risk of hitting a fixed object while skiing. Yauger appealed.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Bablitch, J.)

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  • A "yes" or "no" answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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