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Contract law: Moot court case

By John O. Spengler, Paul M. Anderson, Daniel P. Connaughton, and Thomas A. Baker III

Samantha Slowpitch, a sophomore transfer student at Topten University, was a skilled softball player who truly loved the game. The first thing that Samantha did when she arrived at school was to form a coed intramural softball team with people who came highly recommended as good players. The long-awaited first game finally came, and Samantha and her team showed up early to warm up. During warm-ups, an intramural department staff member approached Samantha and told her that she and her teammates needed to sign up. She was handed a double-sided piece of paper with spaces for team names and ID numbers on one side. At the bottom of the page, in 10-point font, it read "Exculpatory agreement on reverse side." Samantha signed her name and glanced at the back side of the paper. At the top, it read "Waiver" followed by what she later recalled as "something that looked like a waiver." She recalled bits and pieces of the document such as "hold harmless," "acts of negligence," "occurring during the game of softball," "in consideration for," and some reference to "turf" and "thrown or batted balls." She did not read the document carefully given that she was excited about playing her first game and didn’t want to waste time reading a full page of small print. After signing her name on the roster side of the paper, Samantha handed the roster to the rest of the team for them to sign. No other members of the team read the waiver language on the reverse side of the paper. Samantha and her team then took the field for their first game of the semester. They had the game well in hand, winning 6 to 1, when Samantha ran to catch a routine fly ball. As she was running toward the ball, Samantha stepped into a six-inch-deep depression in the turf and severely injured her ankle. The depression was caused by a utility truck that had parked there earlier in the day to repair a damaged outdoor flood light atop a pole in the outfield. Samantha was carried off the field and taken to the hospital, where it was determined that she would not be able to play softball again for the remainder of the year. Samantha was severely upset and emotionally distraught. In addition, her ankle was broken and there was some ligament damage. Samantha sued Topten University and the intramural department for negligence in failing to maintain the turf in proper condition. The university and intramural department defended their case based solely on the waiver.


This is an excerpt from Introduction to Sport Law.



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