Tuesday, April 24, 2012, 10:18 AM
Posted by Administrator
To briefly recap: client signs Release before getting on dive boat and the breaks her ankle exiting boat when she gets it caught in the slats of the boat's dive platform. And, in my mind, the dive boat's owner was negligent in having that type of platform because it was sized perfectly for diver's swim fins to get caught as they took their last step off the boat and plunged into the deep.

But, the trial court judge threw the case out because the client had signed that Release and the Release operated to absolve the dive boat operator of liability for her injuries...whether or not the injuries were his...his company's...or the boat's fault. I had thought...because of what my father (the boy's clothing buyer) had told me before I skated at Hall's pond...that Releases had no effect. "Of course you couldn't have someone sign away their right to sue obvious negligence...that would just encourage uncaring, bad behavior", I thought.

I did research.... Nothing. I called a lawyer I know who was doing a lot of admiralty (maritime) law to see if the fact that the accident took place in navigable waters...on the high seas...would make a different. "No.", he said. "You're screwed."

So, after we were thrown out by the trial court, I filed an appeal with the local Court of Appeals. I did not yet know exactly the grounds for the appeal...but there had to be somegrounds...right?

The Appeals Court...was making litigants go to mediation at the beginning of their appal to try to settle so that the Appeals Judges would have less work to do. The Defendants offered $10,000.

We took it.

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