O’Neill v. CBH20 General Partner, LLC, et al., No. 2616 CV 2019 (Pa. Com. Pl. Monroe Cnty., Jan. 14, 2021, Zulick, J.)

An indemnification provision in a release is valid and enforceable against the spouse who actually signed the release.

The plaintiff-wife sustained injuries while riding the mountain coaster located on the defendant’s premises. Prior to riding the mountain coaster, the defendant required that any riders first sign a written release, which included an indemnification provision. The plaintiff-wife did not sign the release herself, her husband signed it on her behalf. 

Based on the indemnification provision, the defendant filed a counterclaim against the plaintiffs. The husband, in turn, filed preliminary objections on the basis that the release was not valid. In deciding the husband’s preliminary objections, the court first ruled that the executed exculpatory waiver was invalid as to the wife because the husband did not have the authority to sign on behalf of his wife nor was he an agent of his wife. However, the indemnification provision was valid and enforceable as to the husband, who had signed the release. The court found that language of the indemnification provision was “clear and unequivocal” and contained conspicuous lettering. The court further ruled that misspellings of the term “indemnify” contained in the release did not invalidate the contract between the parties, as the parties understood the terms of the release, despite the misspellings. 


Case Law Alerts, 2nd Quarter, April 2021 is prepared by Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin to provide information on recent developments of interest to our readers. This publication is not intended to provide legal advice for a specific situation or to create an attorney-client relationship. Copyright © 2021 Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin, all rights reserved. This article may not be reprinted without the express written permission of our firm.