This is an excerpt from Case Studies in Sport Law 3rd Edition epub by Andrew T. Pittman,John O. Spengler & Sarah J. Young.
Releases and waivers are legally binding contracts, although they are not always upheld in a court of law because of the way they are written. Releases may not be upheld if they do not contain the fundamental elements needed for a legal contract. Donahue v. Ledgends illustrates the characteristics a court looks for in a valid release.
Donahue v. Ledgends, Inc.
331 P.3d 342 (Alaska 2014)
Ledgends, Inc. does business as the Alaska Rock Gym, a private indoor facility that is open to the public. Its interior walls have fixed climbing holds and routes; for a fee, it provides classes and open gym or free climbing time. There are signs posted around the Rock Gym warning of the dangers of climbing, including falling. At her deposition, [plaintiff Claire] Donahue did not dispute that the signs were there when she visited the gym.
Donahue had been thinking about trying rock climbing for several years, and she finally decided in March 2008 to attend a class at the Rock Gym called “Rockin’ Women.” She testified that she chose the class because she thought it could be tailored to specific skill levels, and because she got the impression [from the advertisements] that it was a . . . safe way to learn to climb. She also testified she understood that the essential risk of climbing is falling.