In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and in the State of New Jersey the explosion of trampoline park openings continues. These facilities insist that lengthy Releases/Waivers of Liability are executed which purportedly bar any claims arising out of injury that may occur based on ordinary negligence of the facility or its employees or agents. If their actions were to rise to the level of recklessness there is the opportunity to vitiate, or make the waiver null and void. Interestingly in other jurisdictions that also have laws concerning waivers of liability and releases, litigation against these types of facilities are proceeding with some success.
Recently there was a $3 million settlement by an individual as a result of claims he asserted against AirMaxx Trampoline Park in St. Cloud, Minnesota. He bounced from a trampoline into the available landing pit and pursuant to pleadings filed in that case, he hit the bottom of the pit breaking his neck. The result of the injury was quadriplegia.
There is a rising number of serious trampoline park injuries, including acute severe cervical spine or spinal injuries as a result of people diving into these “foam pits.” These facilities remain unregulated and continue, as alluded to above, to open in rapid succession around the country.
An attorney handling these matters in Minnesota has determined that these pits are to be constructed with multiple layers of cushioning or foam and some of them are being built without the appropriate support structure for the foam or are not satisfying appropriate safety standards that one would reasonably believe to apply to these facilities. The facilities are trying to blame the patrons for flipping certain ways into these pits or plunging into these pits, but that is why they are there….to safely catch the person. People are supposed to jump off of a bouncy surface into these pits lined or stacked with foam.
Aside from legislation needed to establish specific standards and inspection protocols for these trampoline parks, they remain for the most part unregulated.
Depending upon each circumstance, the facts would create potential bases for asserting conscious disregard or recklessness which would allow for arguments to defeat the waivers of liability.