Okura v. United States Cycling Federation et al., 186 Cal. App. 3d 1462; 231 Cal. Rptr. 429; 1986 Cal. App. LEXIS 2178

Okura v. United States Cycling Federation et al., 186 Cal. App. 3d 1462; 231 Cal. Rptr. 429; 1986 Cal. App. LEXIS 2178

Kevin Okura, Plaintiff and Appellant, v. United States Cycling Federation et al., Defendants and Respondents

No. B021058

Court of Appeal of California, Second Appellate District, Division Five

186 Cal. App. 3d 1462; 231 Cal. Rptr. 429; 1986 Cal. App. LEXIS 2178

November 12, 1986

PRIOR HISTORY: [***1] Superior Court of Los Angeles County, No. SWC-77239, Abraham Gorenfeld, Temporary Judge. *

* Pursuant to California Constitution, article VI, section 21.

DISPOSITION: For the foregoing reasons, the judgment is affirmed.

CALIFORNIA OFFICIAL REPORTS SUMMARY In an action for personal injuries brought by a participant in a bicycle race for injuries suffered during the race, against the organizers of the race and the city in which the race was held, the trial court entered summary judgment for defendants based on a release which plaintiff had signed prior to entry in the race. (Superior Court of Los Angeles County, No. SWC-77239, Abraham Gorenfeld, Temporary Judge. *)

In an action for personal injuries brought by a participant in a bicycle race for injuries suffered during the race, against the organizers of the race and the city in which the race was held, the trial court entered summary judgment for defendants based on a release which plaintiff had signed prior to entry in the race. (Superior Court of Los Angeles County, No. SWC-77239, Abraham Gorenfeld, Temporary Judge. *)

* Pursuant to California Constitution, article VI, section 21.

The Court of Appeal affirmed. The court held that the release was not one involving a transaction affecting the public interest, and was therefore not invalid under Civ. Code, § 1668, making contracts which have exemption of anyone from responsibility for his own wilful injury to the person or property of another as their object against the policy of the law. Further, there were no triable issues of fact regarding whether the release form was clear and legible or whether the release form released defendants from the type of risk which caused plaintiff’s injuries. (Opinion by Hastings (Gary), J., + with Feinerman, P. J., and Ashby, J., concurring.)

+ Assigned by the Chairperson of the Judicial Council.

HEADNOTES

CALIFORNIA OFFICIAL REPORTS HEADNOTES

Classified to California Digest of Official Reports, 3d Series

(1) Compromise, Settlement and Release § 8–Requisites and Validity–Preincident Releases. –Preincident releases that do not involve transactions affecting “the public interest” are not invalid under Civ. Code, § 1668, providing that contracts which have exemption of anyone from responsibility for his own wilful injury to the person or property of another as their object are against the policy of the law. The areas to consider to determine whether or not the public interest is affected are whether it concerns a business suitable for public regulation; whether the party seeking exculpation is performing a service of great importance to the public; whether the party holds himself out as willing to perform the service for any member of the public who seeks it, or at least for any member coming within certain established standards; whether, as a result of the essential nature of the service, in the economic setting of the transaction, the party invoking exculpation possesses a decisive advantage of bargaining strength against any member of the public who seeks his services; whether, in exercising his superior bargaining power, the party confronts the public with a standardized adhesion contract of exculpation, and makes no provision whereby a purchaser may pay additional reasonable fees and obtain protection against negligence; and whether, as a result of the transaction, the person or property of the purchaser is placed under the control of the seller, subject to the risk of carelessness by the seller or his agents.

(2) Compromise, Settlement and Release § 8–Requisites and Validity–Preincident Release–Participation in Organized Bicycle Race. –In an action for personal injuries brought by a participant in a bicycle race against the organizers of the race and the city in which the race was held, the trial court properly entered summary judgment for defendants based on a release which plaintiff had signed prior to entering the race. The release was not invalid under Civ. Code, § 1668, providing that all contracts which have for their object the exemption of anyone for responsibility for his own wilful injury to the person or property of another are against the policy of the law, since the preincident release did not affect the public interest.

(3) Compromise, Settlement and Release § 8–Requisites and Validity–Clarity and Legibility of Release Form. –In an action for personal injuries brought by a participant in a bicycle race against the organizers of the race and the city in which the race was held, the trial court properly granted summary judgment for defendants based on an otherwise valid preincident release which plaintiff had signed prior to entering the race, since no triable issues of fact existed regarding whether the release form was clear and legible. The release was not buried in a lengthy document or hidden among other verbiage. The type was clear and legible, and in light of the fact that the release had no other language to compete with, its size, three and one-half inches by eight inches, was appropriate.

(4) Compromise, Settlement and Release § 9–Construction, Operation and Effect–Release From Type of Risk Causing Injuries. –In an action for personal injuries brought by a participant in a bicycle race against the organizers of the race and the city in which the race was held, the trial court properly entered summary judgment for defendants based on a preincident release which plaintiff had signed prior to entering the race, since the otherwise valid release form released defendants from the type of risk which caused plaintiff’s injuries. The language was clear and unambiguous and the entities released from liability that could have arisen out of negligence or carelessness on the part of the persons or entities mentioned in the release obviously included defendants, who were the promoters and sponsors of the event, and the city, which was an involved municipality.

COUNSEL: Edwin J. Wilson, Jr., and Jo Ann Iwasaki Parker for Plaintiff and Appellant.

Hagenbaugh & Murphy, Robert F. Donohue, Spray, Gould & Bowers, David T. Acalin, Cynthia Goodman and Robert Dean for Defendants and Respondents.

JUDGES: Opinion by Hastings (Gary), J., + with Feinerman, P. J., and Ashby, J., concurring.

+ Assigned by the Chairperson of the Judicial Council.

OPINION BY: HASTINGS

OPINION

[*1464] [**429] On August 4, 1984, appellant was injured while participating in a bicycle race known as the Hermosa Beach Grand Prix. The race was organized and staffed by members and volunteers of the South Bay Wheelmen, Inc., a nonprofit affiliate of the United States Cycling Federation. The United States Cycling Federation is a nonprofit organization of amateur competitive cyclists which sanctions bicycle races and provides clinics and training for members to prepare them for racing events. The race was run on closed portions of the public streets of Hermosa [***2] Beach. The city had issued a permit for the event.

Appellant has brought suit against the South Bay Wheelmen, United States Cycling Federation and the City of Hermosa Beach alleging negligence in the preparation and maintenance of the course. Plaintiff was racing in the second to last race of the day and apparently fell when his bicycle hit [*1465] loose debris as he was crossing railroad tracks on the course. He slid into a loose guardrail and was injured upon impact.

Summary judgment was granted to respondents herein based upon a release admittedly signed by appellant prior to entering the race. The release is contained on the entry form which is titled “Southern California Cycling Federation Standard Athelete’s Entry Blank and Release Form.” The language of the release contained immediately below the title is as follows: “In consideration of the acceptance of my application for entry in the above event, I hereby waive, release and discharge any and all claims for damages for death, personal injury or property damage which I may have, or which may hereafter accrue to me, as a result of [**430] my participation in said event. This release is intended [***3] to discharge in advance the promoters, sponsors, the U.S.C.F., the S.C.C.F., the promoting clubs, the officials, and any involved municipalities or other public entities (and their respective agents and employees), from and against any and all liability arising out of or connected in any way with my participation in said event, even though that liability may arise out of negligence or carelessness on the part of the persons or entities mentioned above.

“I further understand that serious accidents occasionally occur during bicycle racing: and that participants in bicycle racing occasionally sustain mortal or serious personal injuries, and/or property damage, as a consequence thereof. Knowing the risks of bicycle racing, nevertheless, I hereby agree to assume those risks and to release and hold harmless all of the persons or entities mentioned above who (through negligence or carelessness) might otherwise be liable to me (or my heirs or assigns) for damages.

“It is further understood and agreed that this waiver, release and assumption of risk is to be binding on my heirs and assigns.

“I agree to accept and abide by the rules and regulations of the United States Cycling [***4] Federation.” (Italics added.) The only remaining terms on the form are for information regarding the entrant such as: signature, name, address, phone number, date, age and class entered. The whole form is only eight inches wide and three and one-half inches high. The language of the release portion quoted above takes up approximately 40 percent of the form.

The facts presented to the trial court regarding the release were uncontradicted. Appellant admitted signing the release but complained he had no choice and that he had no chance to inspect the course himself because the organizers prevented the participants from going onto the course except during the race. He argues that the release form is void as against public [*1466] policy because it is a contract of adhesion and that the form itself is not sufficient to put a participant on notice that he is actually signing a release.

(1) (2) Tunkl v. Regents of University of California (1963) 60 Cal.2d 92 [32 Cal.Rptr. 33, 383 P.2d 441, 6 A.L.R.3d 693] sets forth the basic law regarding the validity of preincident releases. First of all, the case recognizes that [HN1] not all releases of liability are invalid under Civil Code section [***5] 1668. Those releases that do not involve transactions affecting “the public interest” may stand. The case sets forth six areas to consider to determine whether or not the public interest is affected: “In placing particular contracts within or without the category of those affected with a public interest, the courts have revealed a rough outline of that type of transaction in which exculpatory provisions will be held invalid. Thus [HN2] the attempted but invalid exemption involves a transaction which exhibits some or all of the following characteristics. [1] It concerns a business of a type generally thought suitable for public regulation. [2] The party seeking exculpation is engaged in performing a service of great importance to the public, which is often a matter of practical necessity for some members of the public. [3] The party holds himself out as willing to perform this service for any member of the public who seeks it, or at least for any member coming within certain established standards. [4] As a result of the essential nature of the service, in the economic setting of the transaction, the party invoking exculpation possesses a decisive advantage of [***6] bargaining strength against any member of the public who seeks his services. [5] In exercising a superior bargaining power the party confronts the public with a standardized adhesion contract of exculpation, and makes no provision whereby a purchaser may pay additional reasonable fees and obtain protection against negligence. [6] Finally, as a result of the transaction, the person or property of [**431] the purchaser is placed under the control of the seller, subject to the risk of carelessness by the seller or his agents.” (Italics added, fns. omitted, 60 Cal.2d at pp. 98-101.) Bearing these in mind, we will analyze this case.

1. Public Regulation

The transaction in this case was entry into a public bicycle race organized by private nonprofit organizations. While bicycles generally are regulated to the extent they are subject to motor vehicle laws, the organized racing of bicycles is not the subject of public regulation. Neither the South Bay Wheelmen nor the United States Cycling Federation are subject to public regulation.

2. Is This a Service of Great Importance to the Public

The service provided here was the organization and running [***7] of competitive bicycle races for members of the organizers and the public. The race organizers [*1467] obtained the necessary permits; laid out the course; manned the course; obtained sponsors; and advertised the event. This is very similar to the organization and sponsorship of the numerous 10-kilometer and marathon running events that have blossomed since the mid to late 1970’s. However, herein, the races were divided into different classes. Appellant was riding in an “open” public event. Without such organization and sponsorship, those that desire to enter bicycle racing would undoubtedly have no chance to do so under organized settings. Therefore, there is no doubt but that respondents offer a public service. However, does it measure up to the public importance necessary to void the release.

In Tunkl v. Regents of University of California, supra, 60 Cal.2d 92, the question was whether or not a public hospital provided a service of great public importance. The question was answered in the affirmative. The question was also answered in the affirmative regarding escrow companies in Akin v. Business Title Corp. (1968) 264 Cal.App.2d 153 [70 Cal.Rptr. [***8] 287]. In Westlake Community Hosp. v. Superior Court (1976) 17 Cal.3d 465 [131 Cal.Rptr. 90, 551 P.2d 410], the Supreme Court held that hospitals, and the relationship between hospitals and physicians, were sufficiently important to prevent an exculpatory clause from applying to a doctor suing a hospital based upon hospital bylaws. In Vilner v. Crocker National Bank (1979) 89 Cal.App.3d 732 [152 Cal.Rptr. 850], the court found that the practice of night deposits was of great public importance regarding the banking industry and its customers so that an exculpatory clause in a night deposit agreement was unenforceable. Also, common carriers provide a sufficiently important public service that exculpatory agreements are void. ( Rest.2d Contracts, § 195, com. a, p. 66.)

Measured against the public interest in hospitals and hospitalization, escrow transactions, banking transactions and common carriers, this transaction is not one of great public importance. [HN3] There is no compelling public interest in facilitating sponsorship and organization of the leisure activity of bicycle racing for public participation. The number of participants is relatively minute compared [***9] to the public use of hospitals, banks, escrow companies and common carriers. Also, the risks involved in running such an event certainly do not have the potential substantial impact on the public as the risks involved in banking, hospitals, escrow companies and common carriers. The service certainly cannot be termed one that “is often a matter of practical necessity for some members of the public.” ( Tunkl v. Regents of University of California, supra, 60 Cal.2d at p. 99.)

3. That the Service Is Open to Any Member of the Public.

It appears that anyone with a bicycle and the entrance fee who desires to enter the event can do so under standards established by the organizers.

[*1468] 4. The Economic Setting and “The Essential Nature of the Service.”

Item 4 seeks to measure the relative bargaining strengths of the parties. However, [**432] its prefaced by the words “the essential nature of the service.” (60 Cal.2d at pp. 99-100.) This ties in with item 2 above. The service provided herein can hardly be termed essential. It is a leisure time activity put on for people who desire to enter such an event. People are not compelled to enter the event [***10] but are merely invited to take part. If they desire to take part, they are required to sign the entry and release form. The relative bargaining strengths of the parties does not come into play absent a compelling public interest in the transaction.

5. Superior Bargaining Power and Standardized Adhesion Contract.

As set forth in item 4, this is not a compelled, essential service. The transaction raises a voluntary relationship between the parties. The promoters and organizers volunteer to hold a race if the entrants volunteer to take part for a nominal fee and signature on the entry and release form. These are not the conditions from which contracts of adhesion arise. Therefore, this item is not applicable.

6. The Provision of Control.

Compared to the patient who has placed himself in the exclusive control of the hospital in Tunkl, or the passenger who sits on a public conveyance, no such release of control exists here. Appellant retained complete control of himself and his bicycle and at any time could have dropped out of the race. Respondents had no control over how appellant rode his bicycle or approached the area in question except as to the general [***11] layout of the course.

Except for item 3, appellant’s situation does not fall within the guidelines set out in Tunkl. (60 Cal.2d at p. 92.) This situation does not present a transaction affecting the public interest. Therefore, there is no proscription for the release contained in the entry and release form herein. The trial court correctly relied upon the case of McAtee v. Newhall Land & Farming Co. (1985) 169 Cal.App.3d 1031 [216 Cal.Rptr. 465].

(3) (4) Finally, no triable issues of fact exist regarding whether the release form is clear and legible or whether the release form released respondents from the type of risk which caused appellant’s injuries. As previously indicated, the entire form is only three and one-half inches by eight inches and the only printing on the form other than the incidental information relating to the competitor is the release language. It is not buried in a lengthy document or hidden among other verbiage. The type is clear [*1469] and legible and in light of the fact it has no other language to compete with, its size is appropriate. The language is clear and unambiguous and the first paragraph concludes with “even though that liability [***12] may arise out of negligence or carelessness on the part of the persons or entities mentioned above.” The entities mentioned obviously include the South Bay Wheelmen who were the “promoters and sponsors” of the event, the United States Cycling Federation and the City of Hermosa Beach, “any involved municipalities.”

For the foregoing reasons, the judgment is affirmed.

WordPress Tags: Okura,States,Federation,Rptr,LEXIS,Kevin,Plaintiff,Appellant,Defendants,Respondents,Court,Appeal,California,Second,Appellate,District,Division,Five,November,PRIOR,HISTORY,Superior,Angeles,Abraham,Gorenfeld,Temporary,Judge,Pursuant,Constitution,article,DISPOSITION,judgment,OFFICIAL,REPORTS,SUMMARY,action,injuries,participant,bicycle,organizers,transaction,Code,exemption,injury,person,policy,Further,fact,Opinion,Hastings,Gary,Feinerman,Ashby,Chairperson,Judicial,Council,HEADNOTES,Digest,Series,Compromise,Settlement,Release,Requisites,Preincident,Releases,transactions,areas,regulation,exculpation,importance,member,advantage,strength,adhesion,provision,purchaser,protection,negligence,seller,agents,Participation,Race,Form,verbiage,size,Construction,Operation,Effect,From,Type,Risk,entities,promoters,event,COUNSEL,Edwin,Wilson,Iwasaki,Parker,Hagenbaugh,Murphy,Robert,Donohue,Spray,Gould,Bowers,David,Acalin,Cynthia,Goodman,Dean,JUDGES,August,Hermosa,Beach,Grand,Prix,South,Wheelmen,clinics,events,streets,preparation,maintenance,debris,guardrail,impact,Southern,Standard,Athelete,Entry,Blank,acceptance,death,officials,municipalities,employees,accidents,participants,consequence,heirs,waiver,assumption,Italics,information,entrant,signature,Tunkl,Regents,Civil,category,Thus,characteristics,Public,bicycles,extent,vehicle,laws,Neither,Service,Great,sponsorship,settings,hospital,Akin,Title,Corp,Westlake,Hosp,Supreme,hospitals,relationship,physicians,clause,bylaws,Vilner,Crocker,National,Bank,industry,customers,agreement,Also,carriers,agreements,Rest,Contracts,leisure,Open,Economic,Essential,Nature,Item,strengths,People,Power,Contract,entrants,Control,conveyance,area,layout,Except,situation,guidelines,proscription,McAtee,Newhall,Land,competitor,paragraph,wilful,triable,whether,himself,whereby,three,upon,hereby,exculpatory,supra


Hohe v. San Diego Unified Sch. Dist., 224 Cal.App.3d 1559, 274 Cal.Rptr. 647 (1990)

Hohe v. San Diego Unified Sch. Dist., 224 Cal.App.3d 1559, 274 Cal.Rptr. 647 (1990)

Sara Hohe, a Minor, etc., Plaintiff and Appellant, v. San Diego Unified School District, Defendant and Respondent; Mission Bay High School Parent, Teacher and Student Association, Defendant and Appellant.

Docket No. D010796.

Court of Appeal of California, Fourth District, Division One.

November 8, 1990.

Appeal from Superior Court of San Diego County, No. 598500,

Kevin W. Midlam, Judge.

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[Editors’ Note: This Page Contained Headnotes And Headnotes Are Not An Official Product Of The Court, Therefore They Are Not Displayed.]

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[Editors’ Note: This Page Contained Headnotes And Headnotes Are Not An Official Product Of The Court, Therefore They Are Not Displayed.]

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Counsel

Robert P. Irwin for Plaintiff and Appellant.

Lewis, D’Amato, Brisbois & Bisgaard, Peter L. Garchie and Philip

A. Book for Defendant and Appellant.

McInnis, Fitzgerald, Rees, Sharkey & McIntyre and Steven J.

Cologne for Defendant and Respondent.

Opinion

Lim, J.[fn*]

[fn*] Assigned by the Chairperson of the Judicial Council.

Plaintiff Sara Hohe (Hohe), a minor, by her guardian ad litem, Steven Hohe, appeals after the court granted summary judgment in favor of defendants San Diego Unified School District (School District) and Mission Bay High School Parent, Teacher and Student Association (PTSA). The court found the releases signed by Hohe and Steven Hohe on his daughter’s behalf barred her personal injury lawsuit. Hohe contends the court erred because the releases are contrary to public policy, unenforceable because of her minority and unenforceable because of fraud in the inducement. She also argues the written release did not clearly notify her or her parent of its effect. We conclude a triable issue of fact exists regarding the releases’ scope and effect. We therefore reverse the judgment. Accordingly, PTSA is not entitled to attorney fees or costs.

FACTS

Hohe, a 15-year-old junior at Mission Bay High School in San Diego, was injured during a campus hypnotism show sponsored by the PTSA as a fund-raiser

Page 1563

for the senior class. Hypnotism shows had been held annually since 1980.

Hohe was one of 18 or 20 subjects selected at random from a group of many volunteers. Her participation in the “Magic of the Mind Show” was conditioned on signing two release forms. Hohe’s father signed a form entitled “Mission Bay High School PTSA Presents Dr. Karl Santo.”[fn1] Hohe and her father both signed a form entitled “KARL SANTO HYPNOTIST.”[fn2]

Hohe saw the prior year’s hypnotism show. She explained to her father that it would be fun, the show was popular and discussed at least one previous stunt where a subject was suspended between two objects while another person stood on the subject’s stomach.

She also said people sang.

During the course of the show, Hohe slid from her chair and also fell to the floor about six times.

DISCUSSION

I

(1) Hohe argues the releases she and her father signed are contrary to public policy. We disagree. “[N]o public policy opposes private, voluntary transactions in which one party, for a consideration, agrees to shoulder a risk which the law would otherwise have placed upon the other party. . . .” (Tunkl v. Regents of University of California (1963) 60 Cal.2d 92, 101 [32 Cal.Rptr. 33, 383 P.2d 441, 6 A.L.R.3d 693]; Madison v. Superior Court (1988) 203 Cal.App.3d 589, 598 [250 Cal.Rptr. 299] ; see Hulsey v. Elsinore Parachute Center (1985) 168 Cal.App.3d 333, 343 [214 Cal.Rptr. 194] [parachuting]; Kurashige v. Indian Dunes, Inc. (1988) 200 Cal.App.3d 606, 612 [246 Cal.Rptr. 310] [dirt biking].)

Page 1564

An attempted but invalid exemption from liability “involves a transaction which exhibits some or all of the following characteristics. It concerns a business of a type generally thought suitable for public regulation. The party seeking exculpation is engaged in performing a service of great importance to the public, which is often a matter of practical necessity for some members of the public. The party holds himself out as willing to perform this service for any member of the public who seeks it, or at least for any member coming within certain established standards. As a result of the essential nature of the service, in the economic setting of the transaction, the party invoking exculpation possesses a decisive advantage of bargaining strength against any member of the public who seeks his services.” (Tunkl v. Regents of University of California, supra, 60 Cal.2d at pp. 98-100, fns. omitted.)

The circumstances here present an entirely different situation.

Hohe volunteered to be part of a PTSA activity because it would be “fun.” There was no essential service or good being withheld by PTSA. Hohe, like thousands of children participating in recreational activities sponsored by groups of volunteers and parents, was asked to give up her right to sue. The public as a whole receives the benefit of such waivers so that groups such as Boy and Girl Scouts, Little League, and parent-teacher associations are able to continue without the risks and sometimes overwhelming costs of litigation. Thousands of children benefit from the availability of recreational and sports activities.

Those options are steadily decreasing — victims of decreasing financial and tax support for other than the bare essentials of an education. Every learning experience involves risk. In this instance Hohe agreed to shoulder the risk. No public policy forbids the shifting of that burden.

II

(2) Hohe also argues the release from liability cannot be enforced against her because she is a minor. The permission and waiver forms were signed on her behalf by her parent. Hohe also signed one of the release documents.

It is true, with certain limited exceptions, a minor can disaffirm his or her contract. Civil Code section 35 Civ. provides, in relevant part, “the contract of a minor may be disaffirmed by the minor himself, either before his majority or within a reasonable time afterwards. . . .” (Doyle v. Giuliucci (1965) 62 Cal.2d 606,

609 [43 Cal.Rptr. 697, 401 P.2d 1].) The purpose of Civil Code section 35 Civ. is to protect the minor from his own improvidence. It is often said, “he who affirmatively deals with a minor, does so at his peril.” (Holland v. Universal Underwriters Ins. Co. (1969) 270 Cal.App.2d 417, 422 [75 Cal.Rptr. 669].) However, the releases signed here were signed on

Page 1565

Hohe’s behalf by her parent. A parent may contract on behalf of his or her children. Civil Code section 35 Civ. was not intended to affect contracts entered into by adults on behalf of their children. (Doyle v. Giuliucci, supra, 62 Cal.2d at p. 609.)

The court in Celli v. Sports Car Club of America, Inc. (1972) 29 Cal.App.3d 511, 517 [105 Cal.Rptr. 904], found a release signed by a nine-year-old invalid because, among other reasons, the minor’s signature was the only signature on the release. We therefore hold Hohe cannot disaffirm the release based on her minority.

III

(3a) Hohe also attacks the release based on fraud because the permission form bore the heading “Mission Bay High School PTSA Presents Dr. Karl Santo.” It was undisputed the hypnotist was not a medical doctor. Hohe and her father signed a second release form which was simply captioned “KARL SANTO HYPNOTIST.” The question facing the court was whether a material and triable factual issue existed based on the alleged fraudulent content of the release. We think not.

A motion for summary judgment shall be granted if all the papers submitted show there is no triable issue as to any material fact. (Code Civ. Proc., § 437c Civ. Proc., subd. (c); Slivinsky v. Watkins-Johnson Co. (1990) 221 Cal.App.3d 799, 804 [270 Cal.Rptr. 585].) (4) The necessary elements of fraud are (1) misrepresentation; (2) knowledge of falsity; (3) intent to defraud, i.e., induce reliance; (4) justifiable reliance; and (5) resulting damage. (Seeger v. Odell (1941) 18 Cal.2d 409, 414 [115 P.2d 977, 136 A.L.R. 1291]; Molko v. Holy Spirit Assn. (1988) 46 Cal.3d 1092, 1108 [252 Cal.Rptr. 122, 762 P.2d 46].)

(3b) The record before us does not disclose evidence which creates a triable and material issue of fact. Use of the title “Dr.” did not falsely represent the hypnotist as a medical doctor or show PTSA intended such a representation. There is also no evidence PTSA intended to induce reliance or Hohe justifiably relied in any way. Hohe has not presented a triable issue of fact on the question of fraud to defeat the summary judgment.

IV

(5a) The more troublesome issue before us is the scope and effect of the release forms. (6a) Hohe contends the executed forms do not clearly and unequivocally release School District and PTSA from liability for negligence.

“[T]o be effective, an agreement which purports to release, indemnify or exculpate the party who prepared it from liability for that party’s own

Page 1566

negligence or tortious conduct must be clear, explicit and comprehensible in each of its essential details. Such an agreement, read as a whole, must clearly notify the prospective releasor or indemnitor of the effect of signing the agreement.”

(Ferrell v. Southern Nevada Off-Road Enthusiasts, Ltd. (1983) 147 Cal.App.3d 309, 318 [195 Cal.Rptr. 90]; Madison v. Superior Court, supra, 203 Cal.App.3d at p. 598; Celli v. Sports Car Club of America, Inc., supra, 29 Cal.App.3d at pp. 518-519.)

(5b) The permission form signed by Steven Hohe “waive[d] all liability against PTSA, its members, Mission Bay High School, and the San Diego Unified School District.” The form began with precautionary language stating children with mental disorders or of a nervous disposition were not allowed to participate. The parent was advised to exercise parental discretion because the anticipated program might contain an adult theme. The additional form signed by both Hohe and her father stated “I agree to indemnify and hold you and any third parties harmless from any and all liability, loss or damage (including reasonable attorney fees) caused by or arising in any manner from my participation in the Magic of the Mind Show. . . .” This second document signed at the same time as the permission form granted Karl Santo the authority to broadcast and record Hohe’s performance and to use her name and likeness for promotional purposes. It also specifically indemnified Santo from any liability due to Hohe’s utterances while participating in the show.

(6b) A valid release must be simple enough for a layperson to understand and additionally give notice of its import. A drafter of such a release faces two difficult choices. His Scylla is the sin of oversimplification and his Charybdis a whirlpool of convoluted language which purports to give notice of everything but as a practical matter buries its message in minutiae.

In Celli v. Sports Car Club of America, Inc., supra,

29 Cal.App.3d at page 525, appendix, a release printed on the back of a race car pit pass in six point type attempted to “[release, remise and forever discharge] from any and every claim, demand, action or right of action whatsoever kind or nature, in law or in equity, arising from or by reason of any injury to or death of any person, . . . resulting or alleged to result from or arise out of any accident or other occurrence during or in connection with the foregoing event and/or any practice session in connection therewith, and/or any use of the course and/or facilities provided for such event.” The Celli court found the release invalid.

In Ferrell v. Southern Nevada Off-Road Enthusiasts, Ltd., supra, 147 Cal.App.3d at page 319, a release consisting of a convoluted 147-word

Page 1567

sentence contained no releasing words such as “‘release,’ ‘remise,’ ‘discharge,’ ‘waive’ or the like.” The Ferrell court found the release invalid.

(5c) The question here is whether the release and waiver language in the documents signed by Hohe and her father exculpates PTSA and School District from the consequences of its own breach of duty.

A line of cases exists suggesting a release to be effective against “active” negligence must specifically refer to “negligence” in the language of the contract. In other words, a general release will not protect a party from liability unless the negligent acts are ones of nonfeasance or “passive” negligence. (Vinnell Co. v. Pacific Elec. Ry. Co. (1959) 52 Cal.2d 411, 415 [340 P.2d 604]; Markley v. Beagle (1967) 66 Cal.2d 951, 962 [59 Cal.Rptr. 809, 429 P.2d 129]; MacDonald & Kruse, Inc. v. San Jose Steel Co. (1972) 29 Cal.App.3d 413, 422 [105 Cal.Rptr. 725].)

However, an analysis based on the “active-passive dichotomy” or on the absence or presence of a specific reference to “negligence” is not dispositive. (See Rossmoor Sanitation, Inc. v. Pylon, Inc. (1975) 13 Cal.3d 622, 632 [119 Cal.Rptr. 449, 532 P.2d 97].) (7) “[I]t is manifest that it is the intent of the parties which the court seeks to ascertain and make effective. Where . . . the circumstances of the claimed wrongful conduct dictate that damages resulting therefrom were intended to be dealt with in the agreement, there is no room for construction of the agreement. It speaks for itself.” (Harvey Mach. Co. v. Hatzel & Buehler, Inc. (1960) 54 Cal.2d 445, 449 [6 Cal.Rptr. 284, 353 P.2d 924] distinguishing Vinnell Co. v. Pacific Elec. Ry. Co., supra, at p. 415.) Whether a release bars recovery against a negligent party “turns primarily on contractual interpretation, and it is the intent of the parties as expressed in the agreement that should control.” (Rossmoor Sanitation, Inc. v. Pylon, Inc., supra, 13 Cal.3d at p. 633.)

(5d) The permission form signed by Hohe’s father and the additional indemnification and “hold harmless” form signed by both Hohe and her father are general releases. There is no language which specifically speaks to a release from liability for negligence. Nor is there any language which specifically alerts the parent his child is barred from a recovery based on her bodily injury. It is true, “[t]o require that an express indemnity clause be cast in (a) rote form . . . is to compel contracting parties to lie upon a [P]rocrustean bed of linguistic formalism that inhibits the clear meaning of plain English.”

(C.I. Engineers & Constructors, Inc. v. Johnson & Turner Painting Co. (1983) 140 Cal.App.3d 1011, 1018 [189 Cal.Rptr. 824] .) Our analysis is not based on the mechanical application of some formula. The presence or absence of the words “negligence” or “bodily injury” is not dispositive. We look instead to the intention of the parties as it appears in

Page 1568

the release forms before the court. In this instance, the intention as expressed in the releases signed by the parent for his child is not clear. Although the parent waived all liability it was in the context of two documents which focused on mental and nervous disorders, defamation and broadcast rights. The scope of the waiver is ambiguous. Where the intention of the parties on the face of the releases is ambiguous, a triable factual issue is presented. (8) Any doubts as to the propriety of granting the motion for summary judgment should be resolved in favor of the party opposing the motion. (Stationers Corp. v. Dun & Bradstreet, Inc. (1965) 62 Cal.2d 412, 417 [42 Cal.Rptr. 449, 398 P.2d 785]; Slivinsky v. Watkins-Johnson Co., supra, 221 Cal.App.3d at p. 804.) We are mindful of the salutary purposes sometimes served by releases in diminishing the risk of litigation to groups and entities sponsoring student and recreational activities. However we cannot say the release documents signed by Hohe and her parent bar recovery for her personal injuries as a matter of law. Accordingly, we must reverse the summary judgment.

V

Finally, Hohe contends hypnotism is an ultrahazardous activity.

It is unnecessary to reach this issue in deciding whether or not the court properly granted summary judgment. We decline Hohe’s invitation to direct the court on how it should receive evidence on that issue.

VI

We similarly need not decide whether or not the attorney fees provision found in the release forms would entitle PTSA to attorney fees. The court denied PTSA its attorney fees and costs on its motion for summary judgment. Since we have decided the court erred in granting judgment to PTSA, it follows PTSA is not entitled to attorney fees or costs.

DISPOSITION

The judgment is reversed. The order denying attorney fees and costs is affirmed. All parties to bear their own costs on appeal.

Huffman, Acting P.J., concurred.

[fn1] The release form read as follows: “CAUTION [¶] Children with any mental disorder or of a nervous disposition are not allowed to participate. A portion of the program occasionally contains adult theme; parental discretion is advised.

“SUBJECTS ARE REQUIRED TO ARRIVE AT 6:30 p.m.

“My son/daughter Sarah Hohe, grade 11 has my permission to be hypnotized by Dr. Karl Santo during his program at Mission Bay High School. I waive all liability against the PTSA, its members, Mission Bay High School, and the San Diego Unified School District.”

[fn2] The form read in part: “I agree to indemnify and hold you and any third parties harmless from any and all liability, loss or damage (including reasonable attorney fees) caused by or arising in any manner from my participation in the Magic of the Mind Show including any utterances made by me during the above named show or material furnished by me in connection with my participation in the show. I am solely responsible for my appearance in the show and for any loss to any party arising therefrom. [¶] I acknowledge that I am not receiving any compensation from my participation or the above authorization; and that you are relying on the above understandings in your use and broadcasting of my participation and in the production and promotion of the Magic of the Mind Show.”

NARES, J., Dissenting.

Although I agree completely with sections I through III of the majority opinion, I dissent from the conclusion[fn1] reached Page 1569 in section IV. The release signed here clearly, plainly, and unambiguously informs a signer it is a release of “all liability, loss or damage . . . caused by or arising in any manner from my participation in the Magic of the Mind Show.”

(Italics added.) In all fairness, it is difficult to imagine what more any drafter could do to advise a layperson the release covers all types of liability than to say so.

Of course, I acknowledge the series of cases stating the word “negligence” must be used if negligence is to be released. (See, e.g., Ferrell v. Southern Nevada Off-Road Enthusiasts, Ltd. (1983) 147 Cal.App.3d 309, 319 [195 Cal.Rptr. 90].)

However, as the majority correctly notes, the validity of a release should not turn on “magic” words. Instead, the issue is whether a layperson such as Hohe understood, from whatever language used, that she was releasing persons from negligence liability.

With this in mind, I turn (as does the majority) to the question of the parties’ intention when these release forms were signed. In resolving this question, the following facts are undisputed: (1) Sara had seen the hypnotism show before; (2) part of the show involved hypnotized persons falling down; (3) Sara solicited the opportunity to be hypnotized; and (4) prior to the show she (and her father) released the hypnotist and any third parties “from any and all liability.” (Italics added.)

I am unable to discern, as does the majority, the existence of any ambiguity in the phrase “any and all liability.”[fn2] Sara had seen the show, was aware that participants would fall down, and elected to be among them. She now seeks compensation for injuries allegedly incurred when she fell down. The alleged harm is precisely that for which she released all others from liability. (Cf. Madison v. Superior Court (1988) 203 Cal.App.3d 589 [250 Cal.Rptr. 299]; Kurashige v. Indian Dunes, Inc. (1988) 200 Cal.App.3d 606 [246 Cal.Rptr. 310]; Coates v. Newhall Land & Farming, Inc. (1987) 191 Cal.App.3d 1 [236 Cal.Rptr. 181]; Hulsey v. Elsinore Parachute Center (1985) 168 Cal.App.3d 333 [214 Cal.Rptr. 194] .) Based upon the foregoing, I would hold the release effective and affirm the judgment.

[fn1] I agree with the majority’s statements in section IV regarding the social value of releases and the difficulties which face the successful drafter of a release.

[fn2] The release, quoted in footnote 2 of the majority opinion, ante, page 1563, is not written in legalese or insurance company double-talk.

Page 1570

WordPress Tags: Hohe,Diego,Dist,Rptr,Sara,Minor,Plaintiff,Appellant,School,District,Defendant,Respondent,Mission,High,Parent,Teacher,Student,Association,Docket,Court,Appeal,California,Fourth,Division,November,Superior,Kevin,Midlam,Judge,Page,Editors,Note,Headnotes,Official,Product,Counsel,Robert,Irwin,Lewis,Amato,Brisbois,Bisgaard,Peter,Garchie,Philip,Book,McInnis,Fitzgerald,Rees,Sharkey,McIntyre,Steven,Cologne,Opinion,Chairperson,Judicial,Council,guardian,judgment,defendants,PTSA,daughter,injury,lawsuit,policy,fraud,inducement,fact,scope,attorney,FACTS,campus,Hypnotism,participation,Magic,Mind,Presents,Karl,Santo,HYPNOTIST,person,DISCUSSION,transactions,Tunkl,Regents,Madison,Hulsey,Parachute,Center,Kurashige,Indian,Dunes,dirt,exemption,transaction,characteristics,regulation,exculpation,importance,member,advantage,strength,situation,parents,waivers,Girl,Scouts,Little,League,litigation,Thousands,options,victims,essentials,education,instance,permission,waiver,exceptions,Civil,Code,Doyle,Giuliucci,purpose,improvidence,peril,Holland,Universal,Underwriters,adults,Celli,Sports,Club,America,signature,papers,Proc,Slivinsky,Watkins,Johnson,misrepresentation,knowledge,reliance,Seeger,Odell,Molko,Spirit,Assn,representation,negligence,agreement,Ferrell,Southern,Nevada,Road,Enthusiasts,disposition,discretion,theme,manner,performance,purposes,utterances,layperson,Scylla,oversimplification,Charybdis,whirlpool,message,minutiae,appendix,action,death,accident,occurrence,connection,event,session,facilities,consequences,Vinnell,Pacific,Elec,Markley,Beagle,MacDonald,Kruse,Jose,Steel,analysis,dichotomy,absence,presence,reference,Rossmoor,Sanitation,Pylon,Where,room,construction,Harvey,Mach,Hatzel,Buehler,Whether,recovery,interpretation,clause,rote,English,Engineers,Constructors,Turner,formula,intention,Although,context,defamation,Stationers,Corp,Bradstreet,entities,injuries,invitation,provision,Huffman,CAUTION,Children,SUBJECTS,ARRIVE,Sarah,appearance,compensation,authorization,production,promotion,NARES,conclusion,Italics,series,Instead,existence,participants,Coates,Newhall,Land,statements,footnote,ante,legalese,insurance,behalf,unenforceable,triable,upon,himself,supra,disaffirm,third,drafter,remise,dispositive,therefrom


Azad v. Mill Creek Equestrian Center, Inc., 2004 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 11218

Azad v. Mill Creek Equestrian Center, Inc., 2004 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 11218

Nicole Azad, Plaintiff and Appellant, v. Mill Creek Equestrian Center, Inc., Defendant and Respondent.

B169611

COURT OF APPEAL OF CALIFORNIA, SECOND APPELLATE DISTRICT, DIVISION EIGHT

2004 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 11218

December 13, 2004, Filed

NOTICE: [*1] NOT TO BE PUBLISHED IN OFFICIAL REPORTS. CALIFORNIA RULES OF COURT, RULE 977(a), PROHIBIT COURTS AND PARTIES FROM CITING OR RELYING ON OPINIONS NOT CERTIFIED FOR PUBLICATION OR ORDERED PUBLISHED, EXCEPT AS SPECIFIED BY RULE 977(B). THIS OPINION HAS NOT BEEN CERTIFIED FOR PUBLICATION OR ORDERED PUBLISHED FOR THE PURPOSES OF RULE 977.

PRIOR HISTORY: APPEAL from a judgment of the Superior Court of Los Angeles County, No. SC070887. Paul G. Flynn, Judge.

DISPOSITION: Affirmed.

CORE TERMS: equestrian, gross negligence, lesson, ring, dive, misconduct, summary judgment, extreme departure, training, riding, sport, horse, standard of conduct, ordinary negligence, instructor, willful, rider, risks inherent, recommended, dismount, manual, horseback riding, jumping, notice of appeal, material fact, totally outside, triable issue, inappropriate, inherently, correctly

COUNSEL: Law Offices of Diane Goldman and Diane Goldman for Plaintiff and Appellant.

Clinton & Clinton, David A. Clinton and Katherine M. Fesler for Defendants and Respondents.

JUDGES: COOPER, P. J.; RUBIN, J., FLIER, J. concurred.

OPINION BY: COOPER

OPINION

Appellant injured herself falling off a horse during a horseback riding lesson. In this appeal, she challenges the award of summary judgment entered in favor of the equestrian center. Reviewing the record de novo, we find Azad released all claims other than gross negligence and willful misconduct. She does not allege any willful misconduct. Because she provides no evidence of gross negligence, the trial court correctly entered summary judgment. We shall affirm.

FACTUAL BACKGROUND

[*2] The facts interpreted in the light most favorable to Azad indicate the following. On March 16, 2001, Nicole Azad, an inexperienced rider, had a private horseback riding lesson at Mill Creek Equestrian Center, Inc. (MCEC). Prior to her lesson, she signed a release of liability, which was part of a two page document. Each page of the release contained a heading identifying it as a release.

During Azad’s lesson, she rode a horse named Bruno and was instructed by Sandra Samel. Samel chose to hold the lesson in a ring known as the jumping ring even though it was not the ring commonly used for beginning lessons. At the same time as Azad’s lesson, other riders were in the jumping ring including Courtney Leonard. Leonard rode a horse named Dan, who had been injured. Leonard fell off Dan, and Dan started running. In response to Dan, Bruno started running. Azad was unable to gain control over Bruno. Samel did not instruct Azad to immediately dismount and did not grab Bruno’s reins. Bruno jumped the fence, which was not as high as the standard in the industry. Azad fell off Bruno and fractured her leg.

Azad’s expert, Jill Cooke, opined that the height of the railings in the jumping ring [*3] ranged from two to two and a half feet where industry standard was three and a half feet. Cooke also concluded that “separated schooling areas are recommended.” According to Cooke, Samel should have chosen a different ring for Azad’s lesson, one dedicated to inexperienced riders. Cooke also concluded that Samel should have instructed Azad to dismount Bruno and should have held Bruno’s reigns. Cooke opined that “Ms. Samel’s failure to act promptly and appropriately to protect her student thereby created new risk to [Ms. Azad], over and above those inherent in the sport.”

PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

Azad filed a complaint for negligence against MCEC and alleged that MCEC committed both negligence and gross negligence. MCEC moved for summary judgment.

The trial court granted MCEC’s motion for summary judgment. The court found that Azad’s express waiver was valid and that the assumption of risk doctrine applied. Azad appealed. The notice of appeal was filed after the order granting summary judgment but before judgment was entered. Construing the notice of appeal liberally, we deem this an appeal from the judgment which was subsequently entered. (Levy v. Skywalker Sound (2003) 108 Cal.App.4th 753, 761, fn 7.) [*4]

DISCUSSION

Azad argues there are material issues of fact regarding whether the release was clear and whether it exempted the challenged conduct. She also argues MCEC increased the risk to Azad beyond that inherent in horseback riding.

I. Express Assumption of Risk

Prior to her horse back riding lesson, Azad signed the following release:

“I agree that in consideration for this stable allowing my participation in this activity, under the terms set forth herein and in the MILL CREEK RULES AND REGULATIONS of which I received a copy, read, and understand, I the rider and the parent or legal guardian thereof if a minor, and on behalf of my heirs, administrators, personal representative or assigns, do agree to hold harmless, release and discharge MILL CREEK EQUESTRIAN CENTER, its owners, agents, employees, officers, directors, representatives, assigns, members, owner(s) of premises and trails, affiliated organizations, insurers, and others acting on its behalf (hereinafter collectively referred to as associates) of and from all claims, demands, causes of action and legal liability whether the same be known or unknown, anticipated or unanticipated, due to MILL CREEK [*5] EQUESTRIAN CENTER’S and/or its associates ordinary negligence; and I do further agree that except in the event of MILL CREEK EQUESTRIAN CENTER’S gross negligence and willful and wanton misconduct, I shall not bring any claims, demands, legal actions and causes of action against MILL CREEK EQUESTRIAN CENTER and ITS ASSOCIATES as stated above in this clause, for any economic and non-economic losses due to bodily injury, death, property damage sustained by me and/or my minor child and/or legal ward in relation to the premises and operations of MILL CREEK EQUESTRIAN CENTER to include while riding, handling, or otherwise being near horses owned by or in the care, custody and control of MILL CREEK EQUESTRIAN CENTER, whether on or off the premises of MILL CREEK EQUISTRIAN CENTER. I further understand that all riding engaged in at MILL CREEK EQUESTRIAN CENTER is solely at my own risk and that MILL CREEK EQUESTRIAN CENTER is not liable for any injury which may occur to me on its premises, whether bodily injury or otherwise. I further agree to release MILL CREEK EQUESTRIAN CENTER, its agents and employees from any and all liability for any injuries I may sustain while riding and agree to [*6] indemnify and hold MILL CREEK EQUESTRIAN CENTER harmless as to all claims, actions, damages, costs and expenses, including attorney’s fees, arising therefrom. [P] The aforesaid release and limitation of liability includes, without limitation, any obligations of MILL CREEK EQUESTRIAN CENTER with respect to consequential damage and negligent behavior of any of its employees. . . .” (Emphasis added.)

A. Validity of the Release

Citing Conservatorship of Estate of Link (1984) 158 Cal. App. 3d 138, 141-142, 205 Cal. Rptr. 513 (Link), Azad argues that the release is not enforceable because it is not readily identifiable as a release. In Link, the court found that a release should be distinguished from other paragraphs of the document; a release should be conspicuous; and a release must clearly convey that rights are being released. (Ibid.)

The release satisfies the Link criteria. It contains the title “LIABILITY RELEASE AND INDEMNITY AGREEMENT.” Each page of the two page document contains a heading which is printed in bold print and underlined “RIDING INSTRUCTION AGREEMENT AND LIABILITY RELEASE FORM.” Above the signature line, in a paragraph [*7] titled “signer statement of awareness,” there is an acknowledgment of understanding the liability release, which Azad signed. Unlike in Link, the release does not appear to be “calculated to conceal and not to warn the unwary.” (Link, supra, 158 Cal. App. 3d at p. 141.)

Azad claims that it is not clear “what conduct is exempted from liability.” She faults the release for “simultaneously purporting to encompass claims based upon [ordinary negligence] and excluding claims based upon [gross negligence].” Azad points out that, in Continental Ins. Co. v. American Protection Industries (1987) 197 Cal. App. 3d 322, 242 Cal. Rptr. 784, a case not involving a release, the court held “in light of the adoption of the doctrine of comparative negligence in California, any attempt to categorize gross negligence separately from ordinary negligence is unnecessary.” (Id. at p. 330.) Continental Insurance Co., however, did not hold that the distinction between ordinary and gross negligence never is relevant or is inherently ambiguous. To the contrary, it recognized that the distinction remained viable where a statute proscribes gross negligence. [*8] (Id. at p. 329.) The express contractual provision distinguishing between ordinary and gross negligence is not inherently ambiguous.

Thus, the release covers conduct other than gross negligence and intentional misconduct. 1 Azad does not allege intentional misconduct. In the next section, we consider whether Azad has provided any evidence of gross negligence.

1 MCEC argues that the “Release was specific enough to warn Appellant, and to convey that Respondents would not be held liable for any physical injury to Appellant.” While the release discusses liability for “any injury” it expressly excludes “gross negligence and willful and wanton misconduct.”

II. Implied Assumption of Risk

By consenting to participate in a sport that includes risks, a person consents to assume the risks inherent in the sport. (Knight v. Jewett (1992) 3 Cal.4th 296, 311.) A person does not consent to a breach of a duty by another that increases the risks inherent in the sport. (Ibid.) [*9] “‘[A] purveyor of recreational activities owes a duty to a patron to not increase the risks inherent in the activity in which the patron has paid to engage. . . .'” (Kahn v. East Side Union High School Dist. (2003) 31 Cal.4th 990, 1005 (Kahn).)

In Kahn, supra, 31 Cal.4th at p. 996, our high court considered the doctrine of assumption of the risk in the context of a lawsuit against a swimming instructor. The court held that a sports instructor breaches a duty of care only “‘if the instructor intentionally injures the student or engages in conduct that is reckless in the sense that it is ‘totally outside the range of the ordinary activity.'” (Ibid.) The court further found evidence of reckless conduct sufficient to raise a triable issue of material fact where a swim coach required a student to dive into a shallow pool without providing her any training, after promising she would not be required to dive. (Id. at p. 996.) The court specifically relied on the following evidence: “the lack of training in the shallow-water dive disclosed by plaintiff’s evidence, especially in the face of the sequences training recommended in the [*10] Red Cross manual submitted by plaintiff; the coach’s awareness of plaintiff’s deep-seated fear of such diving; his conduct in lulling her into a false sense of security through a promise that she would not be required to dive, thereby eliminating any motivation on her part to learn to dive safely; his last-minute breach of that promise under the pressure of a competitive meet; and his threat to remove her from the team or at least the meet if she refused to dive.” (Id. at p. 1012.)

Here, Azad has alleged gross negligence on the part of both her instructor and the equestrian center. Gross negligence is defined as “‘”the want of even scant care or an extreme departure from the ordinary standard of conduct.”‘” (Eastburn v. Regional Fire Protection Authority (2003) 31 Cal.4th 1175, 1185-1186, quoting Franz v. Board of Medical Quality Assurance (1982) 31 Cal.3d 124, 138, 181 Cal. Rptr. 732.) This definition is similar to the standard employed in Kahn – conduct totally outside the range of ordinary activity. Therefore, we consider whether Azad has provided any evidence of an extreme departure from the ordinary standard of conduct. [*11] 2

2 Both parties cite numerous cases decided under an ordinary negligence standard, including this division’s decision in Giardino v. Brown (2002) 98 Cal.App.4th 820. We need not assess the applicability of these cases in light of Kahn because here Azad expressly released claims of ordinary negligence.

Azad relies almost exclusively on evidence from her expert, Cooke. However Cooke’s testimony does not demonstrate an extreme departure from the ordinary standard of conduct. Cooke states that the railing should have been higher, it was “recommended” that a ring be used for only one lesson, the choice of rings was “inappropriate,” and Samel’s response was “inappropriate.” Samel should have “immediately had her student dismount.” Cooke also states that Samel was “inadequately trained,” but provides no basis for this conclusion. Thus, this case is not like Kahn, where the plaintiff provided an established training manual and showed an extreme departure from this manual in that there was [*12] evidence she received no training at all. Because Azad identifies no extreme departure from the ordinary standard of conduct, she fails to raise a triable issue of material fact. The trial court correctly entered summary judgment in favor of MCEC. (Aguilar v. Atlantic Richfield Co. (2001) 25 Cal.4th 826, 850.)

DISPOSITION

The judgment is affirmed.

COOPER, P. J.

We concur:

RUBIN, J.

FLIER, J.

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