Signing Waiver on Ski Injury Lawsuit

Sirek v. Fairfield Snowbowl, Inc., 166 Ariz. 183, 800 P.2d 1291 (App. 1990), Maurer v. Cerkvenik-Anderson Travel, Inc., 181 Ariz. 294, 890 P.2d 69 (App. 1994), Bothell v. Two Point Acres, Inc., 192 Ariz. 313, 965 P.2d 47 (App. 1998), and Morganteen v. Cowboy Adventures, Inc., 190 Ariz. 463, 949 P.2d 552 (App. 1997). We disagree. Sirek involved a release signed as part of a ski rental agreement. the plaintiff, Ms. Sirek, rented skis and bindings from the defendant. Ms. Sirek read and signed a release that contained some general waiver agreements. The release stated that it applied to "any injury" that might result from using the rental equipment, but did not specifically mention any release of liability for the defendant's own negligence. Later that day, Ms. Sierk was injured when her bindings did not release during a fall. Sirek sued the defendant, alleging that the defendant's employees negligently selected the wrong skis and bindings and that they negligently adjusted the bindings' release settings. See Sirek, 166 Ariz. at 184, 800 P.2d at 1292. In reversing the trial court's summary judgment for defendant, we noted the importance of clarity when it comes to a party's attempt to insulate itself from liability for its own negligence. We held that "if [the defendant] intended to absolve itself from its own negligence, it should have clearly and explicitly stated so in the rental agreement." Sirek, 166 Ariz. at 187, 800 P.2d at 1295. Because there was no explicit release of liability for the defendant's own negligence, we held that the release must be construed strictly as inapplicable to claims based on that negligence. See id. at 187-88, 800 P.2d at 1295-96.