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Monday, September 15, 2014

JAMES F. WALTERS V. YMCA A-1062-12T3

JAMES F. WALTERS V. YMCA 
A-1062-12T3 
Plaintiff sued the YMCA after he slipped and fell on steps that led to the indoor pool. The trial court granted defendant's motion for summary judgment and dismissed plaintiff's complaint based on an exculpatory clause included in the membership agreement plaintiff signed to access YMCA's facilities and physical fitness equipment. The motion judge found plaintiff's cause of action was barred under the Court's holding in Stelluti v. Casapenn Enters., Inc., 203 N.J. 286 (2010). 
  We reverse because the type of expansive exculpatory clause involved here was specifically not addressed by the 
Court in Stelluti. Applying the standard for enforceability in Gershon v. Regency Diving Ctr., Inc., 368 N.J. Super. 237, 248 (App. Div. 2004), endorsed by the Court in Stelluti, we hold the YMCA's exculpatory clause is unenforceable because it would eviscerate the common law duty of care owed by the YMCA to its invitees, regardless of the nature of the business activity involved.