Gross negligence occurs when there is some kind of blatant violation of or clear indifference to a legal duty toward the rights and protection of others. It’s a kind of flagrant and conscious disregard for the use of reasonable care. It doesn’t mean showing the accident/ injury was intentional, but rather showing an extreme lack of care that is likely to cause foreseeable, serious harm to someone else. In some cases, an assertion of gross negligence will support a recovery of punitive damages too, though there usually needs to be evidence of willful, wanton misconduct.
In the case of Anderson v. Fitness International LLC, the question was whether plaintiff had sufficiently proven gross negligence to overcome the protection that his signed waiver of liability had afforded the defense. A California appeals court ruled: No. Continue reading →