Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Balloon Handler Volunteer’s Injury Claim Properly Dismissed in Light of Release

In O’Connell v. Macy’s Corporate Services, Inc., 154 A.D.3d 628 (N.Y.A.D. 1 Dept. Oct. 31, 2017), the Appellate Division, First Department affirmed the lower court’s dismissal of plaintiff’s personal injury claim against Macy’s.

In sum, plaintiff alleges that on or about November 28, 2013, she was struck by an all terrain-vehicle driven by the Defendant Jeff Stanton. At the time of the accident both the Plaintiff and Mr. Stanton were volunteers at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade; plaintiff was assigned as a handler for one of the balloons, and Mr. Stanton was assigned to trail the balloon handlers in an all-terrain vehicle.

The lower court held that plaintiff’s claims were barred by a release she signed.

The First Department agreed:

Defendants established prima facie that they cannot be held liable for the injuries that plaintiff allegedly sustained while participating as a volunteer in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, by submitting a copy of a portion of plaintiff’s electronic application to be a participant that contained a release from liability showing her name typed at the bottom and a check mark in the box indicating her agreement to the terms of the release. …

Plaintiff unpersuasively argues that the release does not apply because defendant Stanton, whose vehicle struck plaintiff, was not an employee of Macy’s. As a volunteer in the parade, Stanton was an agent of Macy’s and covered by the release[.]

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