Scott v. Pacific West Mountain Resort
In Scott v. Pacific West Mountain Resort, 119 Wn.2d 484, 834 P.2d 6 (1992), a twelve-year-old boy was injured while taking a skiing lesson at the defendant's resort. The boy and his mother had signed a ski school application that contained an exculpatory clause releasing the ski school from liability for negligent conduct.
The Washington Supreme Court determined that, as a matter of public policy in that state, a parent does not have the legal authority to release a child's claims for personal injuries resulting from negligent conduct. The court specifically noted that, under Washington law, a parent could not settle or release a child's post-injury claim without court approval.
The court rejected any distinction between pre-injury and post-injury releases, stating that: "In situations where parents are unwilling or unable to provide for a seriously injured child, the child would have no recourse against a negligent party to acquire resources needed for care." Scott v. Pacific West Mountain Resort, supra, 110 Wn.2d at 494, 834 P.2d at 12.
The Scott court also noted with approval cases from other jurisdictions in making its public policy determination. See Scott v. Pacific West Mountain Resort, supra, fn. 19.