Reed Armstrong Secures Summary Judgment Based upon Exculpatory Provision

On March 6, 2012, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois, Herndon, J., granted summary judgment for a client of Reed Armstrong, Michael Kelly. Jordan Polansky v. Michael Kelly and Sports Car Club of America, 3:10-cv-00680-DRH –PMF. Plaintiff, Jordan Polansky, sustained injuries while working as a corner-captain during an autocross-racing event after he was struck by an errant vehicle driven by the defendant, Michael Kelly. Corner-captains are placed on the autocross course, responsible for stopping the race if an unsafe condition arises. Polansky alleged that Kelly negligently operated his vehicle during the autocross event. Prior to his admission to the event, Polansky signed a release and waiver of liability, assumption of risk and indemnity agreement with SCCA. He was under no obligation to sign the release, and he voluntarily agreed to its terms in order to participate in the autocross event. The release and waiver of liability provided that Polansky agreed to release, waive, and discharge any autocross participant from any and all liability arising out of the autocross event. Kelly moved for summary judgment based on the validity of the release and waiver of liability. Polansky argued that he failed to read the release prior to signing it, and that he did not contemplate the risks involved with working as a corner-captain at an autocross event. Yet, Polansky admitted that knew he was signing a release and waiver as he had done on thirty-two previous occasions. The words “release and waiver of liability” were clearly identified on the top of the document. He admitted that he knew the autocross event was dangerous and that racing can lead to serious injury and death. The Court granted Kelly´s motion for summary judgment, finding the release to be a valid waiver of liability.