Checchio v. Evermore Fitness, LLC

In less than a year, the New Jersey Appellate Division issued its second Sky Zone Trampoline Park opinion. In a scenario stunningly similar to the one presented in Gayles v. Sky Zone Trampoline Park, a fourteen-year-old girl went to Sky Zone with her friend and friend’s mom. The mom signed a release, which included an arbitration agreement. The kid got hurt in the trampoline park and sued. Initially, the trial court refused to enforce the arbitration agreement because the signor was not the injured kid’s parent, legal guardian, or holder of a power of attorney. But the defendants learned that the same kid had been to that Sky Zone five times before. On each of those visits, her mother signed an identical release. On reconsideration, the trial court enforced the arbitration provision. Two weeks later, the Appellate Division issued Gayles, where it ruled essentially in line with this trial court’s initial order, to wit: an arbitration agreement is not binding on a child when a non-parent signed the release. The plaintiffs then moved for reconsideration of the reconsideration. Again, the trial court changed its mind and held that Gayles mandated that the release was invalid. The Appellate Division affirmed and held that the earlier releases did not bind the plaintiff to arbitration in perpetuity. Moreover, the friend’s mother had no authority to bind the child for this visit to Sky Zone.

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