Malcolm S. Mead

Malcolm S. Mead was quoted in the article, “Rappelling Death Suit Doomed by Waiver, 10th Circ. Finds,” published by Law360 on July 27, 2021.

The article discusses the recent 10th Circuit Court of Appeals decision affirming summary judgment in favor of a Colorado outfitter involving the death of a Texas resident during guided rappelling activities.  The opinion enforced the liability waiver signed by the Decedent and confirmed that Colorado law governed the legal analysis, instead of Texas law.  Plaintiff/appellant argued that Texas law should apply, while Defendant/appellee argued that Colorado law applied.  The release itself, however, lacked a “choice of law” provision.  The Hall & Evans attorney team that secured the summary judgment and appellate victories included Mr. Mead, Peter C. Middleton, and Jacob R. Woods.

In reflecting on the significance of the opinion, Malcolm told Law360, “It is an excellent and well-reasoned decision which recognizes the importance of the outdoor recreational industry to Colorado’s economy and the importance of allowing those who provide services in this industry to protect themselves against liability for negligence through the use of liability waivers.” Malcolm goes on to state, “Although the portion of the decision which finds the waiver enforceable follows a long line of Colorado decisions, this is the first reported decision addressing the conflict of law issue — and correctly finds that such waivers are to be analyzed under the standards of Colorado law.”  The opinion also affirmed the trial court’s opinion that Plaintiff failed to establish the existence of “willful and wanton” conduct.

Read the full article on the Law360 website (subscription may be required).