The Exception in California

July 28th, 2012 · No Comments ·

In a 1990 California case (Hohe v. San Diego Unified Sch. Dist., 224 Cal.App.3d 1559, 1990), the court made it clear that, while minors are free to disaffirm contracts signed only by themselves, they cannot disaffirm contracts made by their parent or guardian.

California law (section 35 of the Civil Code) states, “In all cases … the contract of a minor, if made whilst he is under the age of 18, may be disaffirmed by the minor himself….” This section applies to contracts with minors and protects them from their own improvidence in assuming contractual obligations. It does not apply to contracts between adults and is, therefore, not controlling on the question of a parent’s power to bind their child to arbitrate by entering into a contract with the child as a third-party beneficiary.

In a more recent case, a cheerleader was injured after her mother signed a waiver of liability (Aaris v. Las Virgenes Unified School District, 1998 Cal.App. LEXIS 535), and a California court reiterated that parents may execute a release on behalf of their child.

Thus, in California, it is well established that minors may void waivers signed solely by themselves, but will be held to waivers that are signed by their parent or guardian.

It is essential that California fitness professionals who are seeking protection against liability for injuries resulting from negligence require that a parent or guardian sign on behalf of clients who are minors.

Tags: Fitness