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New Jersey Skiers Beware of the “Season Pass”

March 23, 2012

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In <em>Dearnley v. Mountain Creak</em>, plaintiff purchased a season pass to Mountain Creek Ski Resort in 2008.  As part of the application process, plaintiff signed an agreement fully releasing Mountain Creek from any and all liability for personal injury.  While visiting Mountain Creek in January 2009, plaintiff suffered serious injuries and subsequently filed suit against Mountain Creek.  Oddly, plaintiffs then re-applied for a season pass several months later and signed a “Season Pass Waiver” agreeing to release all claims that they may have had against Mountain Creek.  The court granted Mountain Creek’s motion for summary judgment based on the 2009 waiver finding that plaintiff surrendered the right to maintain the suit in exchange for the benefits afforded to season pass holders.
Plaintiff appealed claiming that the contract entered into was one of adhesion and contrary to public policy.  The Appellate Division noted that contracts will ordinarily be enforced as written.  Avoidance of such a contract requires clear evidence of mistake that is so grave as to make enforcement of the contract unenforceable.  Because plaintiff gained a benefit from holding the season pass, and that the terms were not one-sided, the trial court’s decision was affirmed.  Under these circumstances, the plaintiff’s ‘releasor’s remorse’ was not sufficient to remand the matter.
<a href="http://www.judiciary.state.nj.us/opinions/a5517-10.pdf">http://www.judiciary.state.nj.us/opinions/a5517-10.pdf</a>
Thanks to Andrew Marra for his contribution to this post.
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