Recent oral arguments presented by attorney Dan A. Penning, before a Michigan Court of Appeals panel of judges, resulted in a unanimous 3-0 vote in which the Appeals judges upheld the trial court’s decision dismissing the case.
Penning argued in support of a Circuit Court’s decision dismissing a lawsuit against Penning’s client for trespass, nuisance and other claims relating to the client’s development of property filed by another property owner.
The Michigan Court of Appeals recently decided that a child’s right to sue for a personal injury is not prohibited, even if that child’s parent or legal guardian signed a waiver of liability form. The case involved a 5-year-old child who broke his leg jumping from an inflatable slide at an indoor commercial “bounce facility”.
The Court of Appeals applied a common law rule that, “in Michigan, a parent has no authority merely by virtue of the parental relation to waiver, release or compromise claims of his or her child. Generally speaking, the natural guardian has no authority to do an act which is detrimental to the child.” The holding, then, is that absent a specific statutory exception to the common law rule, a parent may not bind his or her child to a pre-injury waiver of liability for injuries incurred in either a commercial or non-profit setting.