Tennessee Supreme Court Clarifies Law Regarding Releases From Liability

The Tennessee Supreme Court has revised the factors for courts to consider when deciding the enforceability of a release of liability signed by someone before participating in an activity or obtaining a service. In a case brought by Frederick Copeland against medical transport company MedicOne Medical Response Delta Region Inc., in which Copeland, after signing an agreement releasing MedicOne from liability, was injured while getting into one of the company's vans. Copeland sued, but a lower court and an appeals court both found the released enforceable. However, the Tennessee Supreme Court found that the release was not enforceable because Copeland did not have equal bargaining power with MedicOne when he signed the release, the language of the release was unclear and overly broad, and the release involved an activity with important public interest implications. Read Justice Sharon Lee's unanimous opinion.

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