A parent from Henrico is taking issue with a liability waiver for his son's football team, the Sandston Jets Football and Cheerleading Youth Association. Now, Bruce Richardson says he wants his money back after pulling his 11-year-old son from the team.
Richardson says the form goes too far in dismissing the league from any wrongdoing in the event of a serious accident, or even death, of a player in a game against a team outside the league. Richardson says he was shocked after reading the release form that he was asked to sign weeks after already registering his son.
"I was appalled," said Richardson.
The form applies to scrimmages against teams outside of the Metropolitan Youth Football League, which oversees the Sandston Jets team, and a slew of other teams around the area. The waiver exonerates the Sandston Jets and the MYFL of any liability in accidents that may cause "permanent disability and death."
"Permanent disability and death...those are harsh terms," said Richardson.
The form also says the Sandston Jets wouldn't be responsible, even if the injury was caused by "the negligence" of team organizers.
Richardson says he would have never paid the $130 registration fee if he had received the form beforehand.
"Had I been presented this waiver or release, I would have never signed up in that instance," he added.
However, the Sandston Jets president, Corey Poindexter, won't refund the registration fee, saying the child could have opted out of that one event outside of the league. Poindexter says all parents sign a "no refund" policy when they register their child to play on the team. He also says that it's too late to fill the now empty position with another player.
Karlos Johnson is the chairman of the Metropolitan Youth Football League, which oversees the Sandston Jets. Johnson says insurance won't cover games outside of their league, so the waiver is necessary.
"We really have no control over what goes on. Because of concussions and injuries that have happened over the years, we really prefer that they (teams within the league) do not (attend games outside the league). But, that's why we ask so many documents to be drawn up and turned into us, just releasing us from liability," said Johnson.
NBC legal analyst Steve Benjamin says it's questionable whether the release form would hold up in court. He says if team organizers were proven negligent, a judge would then have to decide whether to uphold the contract, deciding whether it was good public policy. Benjamin also says that waiver forms like the one in this situation aren't uncommon.
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