It seems that just about any activity you undertake these days requires signing a waiver. Waivers are typically designed to protect the entity providing the service. However, in order for a waiver to be enforceable, certain conditions must be met. In Claire’s Boutique v. Locastro, Florida’s Fourth District Court of Appeals reversed a lower court’s ruling pertaining to the validity of a waiver a parent signed in relation to her daughter’s ear piercing.
The facts of the case are as follows. Alexis Locastro, a 13-year-old girl, went to Claire’s to get her ears pierced in Florida. Before the piercing took place, Alexis’ mother Amy Locastro was required to sign a waiver form that released Claire’s from liability for any injuries her daughter sustained due to the negligence of Claire’s or its employees in performing the piercings. The waiver also stated that the clients would indemnify Claire’s and its employees for any claims she or her daughter might file against them. Put simply, the agreement stated that if Alexis or her mother sued Claire’s and won a damages award, they would be responsible for reimbursing Claire’s for any amount Claire’s was ordered to pay to Alexis or her mother, including attorney’s fees and costs.
Following the piercing, Alexis developed an infection in her ear that ultimately required extensive hospitalization and resulted in permanent ear disfiguration. Amy Locastro filed a lawsuit against Claire’s under the theory of negligence. According to the evidence at trial, all of Claire’s employees were required to undergo training on how to pierce ears. However, there was no specific evidence that the employee who pierced Alexis’ ears was ever formally trained. Continue reading →