Contracts

July 23rd, 2019 by Rieders Travis in Contracts

CONTRACTS-EXCULPATORY WAIVER-PRE-INJURY  Valentino v. Philadelphia Triathlon, LLC., J-14-2018 (June 18, 2019).  OPINION IN SUPPORT OF REVERSAL  Justice Dougherty Decided June 18, 2019 The question before the Court is whether the Superior Court erred when it determined a pre-injury exculpatory waiver signed by a triathlon participant provides a complete defense to claims brought by the participant’s non-signatory heirs pursuant to the Wrongful Death Acct, 42 Pa.C.S. §8301.  We would find the waiver is unenforceable against the heirs and does not preclude their wrongful death action.  We would therefore reverse the Superior Court’s decision and remand to the trial court for further proceedings. In determining whether the Waiver provides a defense to appellant’s wrongful death action, we must liberally apply the remedial Act while we simultaneously construe the Waiver strictly against appellee as the party seeking protection from the contract. Allowing the Waiver to have a broad exculpatory effect with respect to non-signatory wrongful death claimants would essentially make the right the General Assembly created for certain heirs through the Act an illusory one.  Abrogation of an express statutory right to recovery in this way violates public policy, and a pre-injury exculpatory…