Becker v. Hoodoo Ski Bowl Developers, Inc.

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Contract Law
  • Date Filed: 03-18-2015
  • Case #: A154563
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Tookey, J., for the Court; Sercombe, P.J.; & Hadlock, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

Release of liability provisions may render contracts unconscionable where the factors, outlined in Bagley v. Mt. Bachelor, Inc., (favoring enforcement of the release) are outweighed by relevant countervailing considerations.

Becker was injured while using a ski lift chair owned and operated by Hoodoo Ski Bowl Developers, Inc. (Hoodoo). A release agreement was printed on Becker’s lift ticket and signage was posted in the ski area regarding requirements of giving Hoodoo notice of injuries. Becker filed a negligence action against Hoodoo, Hoodoo filed a motion for summary judgment and Becker filed a cross-motion for partial summary judgment, arguing the release was unenforceable because it violated public policy and was procedurally and substantively unconscionable. After hearings on the motions, the court granted Hoodoo’s motion. On appeal, Becker argued the trial court erred in granting Hoodoo’s motion. The parties relied on Bagley v. Mt. Bachelor, Inc., which was decided after summary judgment was granted in Hoodoo’s favor. In Bagley, procedural and substantive factors were outlined for guidance in determining unconscionability in contracts, and were to be considered along with any other relevant considerations. The Court held enforcement of the release would be unconscionable. In the present case, the Court held that because the release was materially indistinguishable from the Bagley release, enforcement would be unconscionable and the trial court erred in granting Hoodoo’s motion for summary judgment. Reversed and remanded.

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