Last month, in Lukken v. Fleischer, the Supreme Court of Iowa ruled in favor of Thomas Lukken, a client of our firm. Mr. Lukken suffered a neck fracture while ziplining after a zipline operator did not properly prepare the zipline for Mr. Lukken's ride. Mr. Lukken's case was first heard in the Iowa District Court for Pottawattamie County, where the operator and manufacturer argued that Mr. Lukken’s case should be dismissed, not because of a lack of wrongful conduct (although they did argue this), but rather because Mr. Lukken had signed a waiver of liability form as a condition to be allowed to participate in ziplining. The District Court ruled for the zipline manufacturer and operator on the waiver issue.
Matthew Lathrop, Mr. Lukken's attorney, appealed the case to the Iowa Supreme Court. The Iowa Supreme Court reversed the District Court's ruling that the zipline operator was absolved from blame because of a waiver that Mr. Lukken had signed before riding the zipline. The Iowa Supreme Court noted that while adults have a right to engage in voluntary activities and to sign enforceable waivers, it goes against public policy to eliminate liability for willful, wanton, or reckless conduct. The case was remanded, or sent back to, the District Court for Pottawattamie County, to hold further proceedings consistent with the Iowa Supreme Court's opinion.
The Iowa Supreme Court's opinion was a dramatic change in Iowa’s approach to voluntary waivers of liability. It is a significant win for our client, Mr. Lukken, and for our firm's core focus - enforcing safety rules to prevent injuries and death. When safety rules are followed, we are all protected. Waivers of liability are contrary to safe practices. Waivers encourage businesses to provide a lower standard of care which makes us all less safe.
Personal Injury Attorney Who Fights for Victims Despite Liability Waivers
If you've signed a liability waiver, your legal options are not always completely taken away from you. Contact the Law Office of Matthew A. Lathrop, PC, LLO, today for a free consultation of your injury claim. See what our injury attorneys can do for your case, despite paperwork you may have already signed. Amusement parks such as zipline courses need to be held accountable for their negligence and any resulting harm that comes to their guests.