Judge: Joplin Research Papers Examples
Court of Civil Appeals of Oklahoma, Division No. 1.
Facts: The appellant, Carlos Brannon and Paradise Sport Parachute Centre had appealed against the ruling that had granted the appellee Clark Manning to be paid for the damages after he had sustained injuries while on a skydiving lessons at Paradise Parachute centre which is owned by the appellant. This was based on the fact that the appellee had signed an exculpatory contract that granted him full liability for any form of injury or even death during the skydiving lessons. At the same time, Manning had counter-appealed against the damages he had to be paid with claims that it was insufficient to cover for the injuries.
Issue: Should the plaintiff (Manning) be granted additional damages from the defendant?
Ruling: Based on the fact that the contract signed prior to the skydiving lessons was valid and legal, Manning’s counter-appeal was declared open to further discussion.
Rationale: The Oklahoma Supreme Court had in the past recognized the validity of exculpatory contract provided that the terms are clear, and in an unambiguous language. Signing of the exculpatory contract had declared the defendant immune to any form of liability, regardless of the risks involved. In addition, the contract was legal, clear and acceptance of its terms by the plaintiff made it valid. The legality of the contract is defined by the fact that the contents were clear and non-ambiguous, there was equality in both parties’ bargaining power, and that the contract did not violate any public policy. However, the judge argues that signing the contract had rendered the defendant blameless even if he may have been negligent in packing the parachute. This rendered the counter-appeal for inadequacy of damages subject to the jury’s further discussion.