It’s All Great Fun Until Somebody Gets Sued

Published March 7, 2012

It’s not unusual for someone undertaking a risky activity on another person’s property to be asked to sign a waiver barring lawsuits if personal injury occurs. But a playdate?

A parent recently asked syndicated columnist Miss Manners whether asking for such a waiver is rude:

DEAR MISS MANNERS: My son is invited to spend time in the home of one of his classmates. The classmate’s parents request that I sign a release of liability before my son arrives. I think this is unbelievably rude–as if to imply that I would sue them if there is an accident or injury! Am I overreacting, or has our society really come to believe that anyone who visits your home, and is injured, will sue?

GENTLE READER: Well, there is an awful lot of suing going on. But that is all the more reason to be wary of people who harbor anticipatory litigious thoughts about their children’s playdates. However, that is not the only worry that Miss Manners would have if she were you. What goes on in that household that such a precaution is necessary?

Source: “Miss Manners: Waste not, want not–even dining out,” Washington Post, January 20, 2012 h/t Jonathan Turley