Last month, in Becker v. Hoodoo Ski Bowl Developers, Inc., the Oregon Court of Appeals issued another decision concerning whether a standardized release of liability bars claims from an injured customer. Following the lead of the earlier Oregon Supreme Court case of Bagley v. Mt. Bachelor, Inc., the Court of Appeals decided that Hoodoo Ski Bowl’s release of liability was unenforceable because it was unconscionable.
In this case, the plaintiff, Tabitha Becker was injured in the process of boarding a lift at Hoodoo. The chair of the lift was upright, and it struck Ms. Becker as she tried to move out of the lift area. She was injured and filed her lawsuit against Hoodoo Ski Bowl, arguing that Hoodoo was negligent. Ms. Becker’s husband had bought the lift ticket for her that day, and on the reverse side of the ticket was the type of release language many are familiar with. In particular, the release stated that:
“THE USER OF THIS TICKET HEREBY RELEASES HOODOO SKI BOWL DEVELOPERS, INC. DBA HOODOO SKI ARE AND ITS AGENTS FROM ANY AND ALL CLAIMS AND LIABILITIES ARISING OF OR IN CONNECTION WITH THE USE OF THIS TICKET INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO SKIING ACTIVITIES AND LOADING AND UNLOADING FROM LIFTS. THIS RELEASE INCLUDES CLAIMS BASED UPON NEGLIGENCE.”