Joe Bob signs an equipment lease with Eddie's Rentals. The contract contains this clause: "Lessor disclaims all liability arising from injuries caused by use of this equipment." The starter pull cord on the grass dethatcher Joe Bob rented snapped, putting out Joe Bob's eye and lacerating his lip. Joe Bob sues Eddie's for his injuries and for punitive damages, too.
Can the disclaimer in Eddie's rental contract be enforced? Why or why not?
Did Joe Bob agree to this disclaimer by signing the rental contract at the counter?
What about Joe bob's claim for damages: can he get compensatory damages? Can he get punitive damages?
1. Probably not unless the equipment leased is ultrahazardous. This has to do with negligence law. There is no contract that can disclaim negligence of the lessor in upkeeping the equipment or the manufacturer in designing the equipment. The only time you can contract away negligence is when the activity performed is ultrahazardous in itself so the use of the product no matter is negligent (skydiving, window washing). Therefore, a skydiving or even a horseback riding company can disclaim negligence because the activity is negligent itself and the person agrees to be engaged in ...