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Hall v. Perry

June 30, 2009

KENNETH HALL, APPELLANT (PLAINTIFF),
v.
BILL PERRY AND HIDDEN CREEK OUTFITTERS, APPELLEES (DEFENDANTS).



Appeal from the District Court of Park County The Honorable Steven Cranfill, Judge.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hill, Justice

Before VOIGT, C.J., and GOLDEN, HILL, KITE, and BURKE, JJ.

[¶1] Kenneth Hall was injured when he was thrown from a horse while participating in a deer hunt guided by Hidden Creek Outfitters. The district court ruled that a document signed by Mr. Hall entitled "Release of Liability and User Indemnity Agreement Hunting and Camping" (the Release) precluded his negligence action and granted summary judgment in favor of Bill Perry and Hidden Creek Outfitters. Mr. Hall argues that the Release was not enforceable because it was not supported by separate consideration. We conclude that the Release was part of the parties' original agreement and, therefore, separate consideration was not required to make it enforceable.

[¶2] We affirm.

ISSUES

[¶3] The dispositive question in this case is whether the district court properly ruled, as a matter of law, that the Release was enforceable without separate consideration.*fn1

FACTS

[¶4] Mr. Hall, a resident of North Carolina, and three of his friends planned a guided mule deer hunt in northwestern Wyoming in the fall of 2005. They contacted Bill Perry, the owner of Hidden Creek Outfitters, to act as their outfitter for the hunt. Hidden Creek Outfitters sent a "Letter Contract of Agreement" (hereinafter "Letter Agreement") to Mr. Hall. The Letter Agreement, signed by Mr. Hall (designated as "Client") on February 20, 2005, stated that Hidden Creek Outfitters (designated as "Outfitter") would provide him with a five-day guided hunt, preferably November 6 through 10, 2005. Hidden Creek Outfitters agreed to "stress safety throughout the hunt" and "[p]rovide professional, licensed guides" as well as other necessities such as food, lodging, etc. Mr. Hall agreed to "be personally responsible for each provision herein and sign each contract, agreement and attachment hereto." The Letter Agreement further provided:

2. . . . Client will provide Outfitter a list as to his physical limitations, allergies, health and weight problems, required medications, and dietary restrictions when returning this contract. Client understands that notwithstanding any other provisions of this contract, Outfitter may, in his sole discretion return any fees and decline to accept Client for reasons stated on such form. CLIENT AGREES THAT HE ASSUMES THE RISK OF HUNTING BASED UPON ANY DISCLOSED OR UNDISCLOSED CODITION (sic) REQUIRED BY SUCH FORM.

3. FEES AND CONDITIONS

In consideration of the Outfitter providing the services as set forth hereinabove the Client agrees to pay the Outfitter the sum of $2500.00 [handwritten] plus a 3% forest service fee, in U.S. funds or money order, as follows:

A. Deposit of [$1000.00 crossed out and $500.00 written in] which shall be paid by the Client to the Outfitter with a signed copy of this agreement OR the contract will be null and void and in no way binding on the Outfitter unless accepted by him in his sole discretion. . . .

B. The balance of the fee shall be paid in two (2) installments as follows:

(1) 50% of hunt cost, minus deposit, when ...


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