What the heck is an exculpatory clause?

February 11, 2013


Ron Golden

Ron Golden

  • Attorney, Counsel to AOPA
  • More than 30 years of aviation legal experience
  • Serves on the Board of Directors, Seaplane Pilots Association
  • Pilot since 1975, owns a Cessna Cardinal RG

Through the Legal Services Plan, we review agreements for aircraft rental, hangar rental, aircraft tiedowns, etc. It seems to me in recent years, these agreements include releases more frequently.

I remember overhearing discussions some 30 years ago between individuals about signing such a release agreement. In essence, the advice was to “sign it and don’t worry about it because it will never hold up in court.” The point of this note is to report that the law is changing, and more than ever these releases are being enforced.

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Ron Golden