Wednesday, April 06, 2005
Those crazy judges!: A New Jersey appeals court has ruled that those pesky waivers that parents are so often asked to sign so their kids can play sports are useless -- apparently unless the kid signs them too.
Yep, that's right, pre-teen children need to sign a legally-binding document too.
The 2-1 majority in Hojnowski v. Vans Skate Park, A-2028-03T5, invalidated a waiver signed by the mother of a boy who was then hurt at the park, finding that the rights of children to seek legal remedies trumps parental rights to choose a child's activities.
The waiver signed by Anastasia Hojnowski of West Deptford before her son Andrew, 12, fractured his leg at Vans Skate Park in Moorestown on Jan. 3, 2003, was "void from its inception," the court ruled on March 10.
"We do not, as a matter of principle, reject the proposition that a parent should be empowered to permit a child to engage in activities that are accompanied by a degree of inherent risk," wrote Judge Edith Payne, joined by Judge Robert Fall. "What we hold here is that the parent should not, at the same time, be able to waive the child's claim based on negligence."
This must somehow follow from the recent Supreme Court decision that juvenlies are not sufficiently morally developed to face the death penalty for heinous murders they commit mere hours before their 17th birthdays.
So, just so we know the standards we have set for the youth of America: 17-year-olds cannot be expected to know that murder is wrong, but 12-year-olds should know the intricacies of tort law.
And the courts are losing the respect of the public because they're bad-mouthed by politicians and radio talk show hosts? Hardly.