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Release Form Does Not Prohibit Minor from Suing Church After Summer Camp Injury

Minor who was injured while participating in a church's summer camp program was not barred from suing the church by a release form signed by her mother.

Last Reviewed: March 15, 2021
Key point 10-16.6. A release form is a document signed by a competent adult that purports to relieve a church from liability for its own negligence. Such forms may be legally enforceable if they are clearly written and identify the conduct that is being released. However, the courts look with disfavor on release forms, and this has led to several limitations, including the following: (1) release forms will be strictly and narrowly construed against the church; (2) release forms cannot relieve a church of liability for injuries to minors, since minors have no legal capacity to sign such forms and their parents' signatures do not prevent minors from bringing their own personal injury claims after they reach age 18; (3) some courts refuse to enforce any release form that attempts to avoid liability for personal injuries on the ground that such forms violate public policy; and (4) release ...

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Posted:
  • October 18, 2017
  • Last Reviewed: March 15, 2021

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Church Issues: Waivers and Release Forms and Church Liability
Church Issues: Waivers and Release Forms and Church Liability
What these documents do—and don't do—based on statutes and court decisions made nationwide.