Childrens' sports liability waivers void
Published Saturday, February 6, 2010 8:03PM PST
The B.C. Supreme Court decision that removed a parent's ability to sign away their child's right to sue if he or she is injured in a sports class will stand, after an appeal was dropped this week.
The case stems from a lawsuit launched last year by a former student at a martial arts school in Richmond.
The suit claimed that Lok's Hapkido School instructor Michael Lok was negligent when student Victor Wong was injured in a class, and that Lok should have provided better supervision.
Lok applied to dismiss the lawsuit because he thought he was protected by a waiver, but Justice Peter Willcock ruled that the waiver went too far and violated B.C.'s Infants Act.
"The Act does not permit a parent or guardian to bind an infant to an agreement waiving the infant's right to bring an action in damages in tort," Willcock wrote in the decision last October.
The Wong family's lawyer, Bonnie Lepin, said the decision was empowering for concerned parents.
"A lot of parents sign these waivers. They think that even though they're sure that someone has been negligent, and their child's been injured, they can't do anything about it," Lepin said.
Lok filed to appeal the decision, but withdrew earlier this week.
CTV News' phone calls to Lok were not returned, but in an interview last year Lok said the decision would scare adults away from involvement in children's sports.
"I think it's absolutely outrageous," he said. "We're going to suffer by not getting the protection as a small business owner."
The subsequent lawsuit, to determine whether Lok was indeed negligent when Victor Wong was injured, will go to trial in June.
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Jon Woodward