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Goldstein v. Wintergreen Lodge

Court of Appeals of Minnesota

August 19, 2013

Marcia Goldstein, Appellant,
v.
Wintergreen Lodge, Respondent.

UNPUBLISHED OPINION

St. Louis County District Court File No. 69VICV12858.

Wilbur W. Fluegel, Fluegel Law Office, Minneapolis, Minnesota (for appellant).

Timothy W. Waldeck, Lindsey J. Woodrow, Waldeck Law Firm, Minneapolis, Minnesota (for respondent).

Considered and decided by Peterson, Presiding Judge; Stoneburner, Judge; and Bjorkman, Judge.

STONEBURNER, Judge.

Appellant challenges the summary-judgment dismissal of her claims for injuries she sustained while on a dog-sledding trip offered by respondent. Appellant asserts that the district court erred as a matter of law by holding that (1) the Minnesota dog-owner liability statute does not apply to her injuries; (2) her claim is barred by the common-law doctrine of primary assumption of the risk; (3) the exculpatory clause in the release form appellant signed is valid and precludes her claims; and (4) the Consumer Credit Sales Act does not void the exculpatory clause. We affirm.

FACTS

Marcia Goldstein, a resident of Florida, registered for a dog-sledding trip offered by respondent Wintergreen Lodge, d/b/a Wintergreen Dogsled Lodge (Wintergreen). Wintergreen is based in Ely. Goldstein and her partner Harvey Morse registered with Wintergreen after Goldstein researched various dog-sledding adventures. Another couple, Dr. and Ms. Rhodes (the Rhodeses), who are friends of Goldstein and Morse, also registered. Goldstein used a credit card to pay a $100-per-person deposit. The registration form required Goldstein to initial an acknowledgement of the following information:

A. Wintergreen programs involve physical endeavors in a wilderness area which, like all outdoor adventures, include an element of risk, are subject to the vagaries of weather and are removed from the facilities of civilization.
B. Your itinerary and route may be adjusted to accommodate varying weather and snow conditions.
C. You assume full responsibility for yourself (and participating minor children) for injury or loss of property and you agree to release and hold harmless Wintergreen and any of its agents from liability.
D. You understand that your participation is voluntary and that you will be required to sign an "Assumption of Risk and Release of ...

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