About the recent political rally medical waiver

At a recent political rally attendees were required to sign a waiver absolving those who run the rally of any and all responsibility if the signee caught the coronavirus while attending the event.
Leaving all politics aside, Is such a waiver legally enforceable?
Also, if legally enforceable, would it also absolve the rally-runners from responsibility if the original signee infected others upon returning home?

IANAL just a guy who took a few Bus Law classes in college.

Liability release forms protect you from lawsuits resulting from ordinary negligence, but not from gross negligence.

Ordinary negligence is an honest mistake while gross negligence involves some conscious wrongdoing. So for example if you run a stop sign and get in an accident that might be ordinary negligence but if you ran the stop sign because you had 12 beers before getting behind the wheel that would be gross negligence.

That’s what I’m wondering. If the rally could be proven to have been the origin of a viral spread to non-attendees, isn’t there a good case for a class-action lawsuit? The waivers themselves could be used as evidence that the rally organizers had full knowledge of the potential for exasperating the epidemic.

IANAL but I feel ordinary negligence would be the issue here. The possibility of contracting a disease at a public gathering is a knowable risk and there is no evidence that the Trump campaign did anything to spread the disease beyond holding the rally and inviting people to attend. It’s not like they had infected people going around and licking the seats beforehand.

I feel the waivers will help the Trump campaign if anyone tries to sue them and not only because of the waiving of liability. Anyone who attended the rally won’t be able to claim in the future that they wouldn’t have gone if they had been aware of the possibility of contracting Covid19 because the waivers will be clear evidence that the signers were aware of the risk and accepted it.

And then there’s proving in a court of law that that’s where you contracted it and not at the bar you stopped at before you went to the rally.

On a related issue, does anyone know if the recent West Point graduating class was asked to sign similar waivers? And were the graduates offered an opportunity to choose not to attend the ceremony in person?

I feel Trump faces greater liability here. As Commander-in-Chief it can be argued that he compelled the cadets to attend a public gathering where they faced the risk of contracting Covid19.

If enough people are involved where the ONLY place they ALL went to was the rally, would that matter?

I think the point is that while this may very well be a case of ORDINARY negligence it probably doesn’t rise to the level of GROSS negligence. The attendees knew the foreseeable risk of attending a political rally during a pandemic. And the Trump team took people’s temperature at the door, despite all their bluster about how COVID is a non issue.

yes, this is the reason for all waivers!


The supposed reason for the waivers was to make it impossible for anyone to sue. My point was that even if the dismissal of liability is overruled and people are able to sue, the waivers will still benefit the Trump campaign by being evidence against the plaintiffs.

you’re right of course. my point was that as a matter of policy, IRL, the waiver is used to get informed consent from the signee.

As far as I understand it. You cant dismiss liability completely, but you can make it extremely small. Getting a signed waiver does not dismiss liability.

Its never impossible to sue. Even if you sign an agreement saying you will not sue you can still sue. The question is how well your lawsuit will go over.

If you can show that Trump’s team committed gross negligence in setting up this event than you have a case, waiver or no waiver.

Eta: but you won’t be able to show that, I’d guess.

True, although there were six members of his advance team that were positive for COVID-19.

This is the key point. This right here. You can sign a waiver saying you won’t sue, sign a contract saying you won’t sue, and pinky-swear you won’t sue. You can still sue. And, by the way, so can your family members and business associates.

You will, of course, need to justify your decision to sue before a judge, but the person or organization you are suing will still have to go through the cost and inconvenience of defending themselves.

Two more of the staffers have tested positive now.

“exasperating” should be “exacerbating”

That is all - just one of those things that gets to me.

It would be ironic if the staffers sued having not had to sign any sort of waiver.


Would that have been staffers working for Donald Trump or his campaign, or staffers employed by the venue?

If they were working for Donald Trump, I’m sure they would have to sign that, as well as a Non-Disclosure Agreement so they can’t even talk about it.

AFAIK, the cadets were ordered to attend. Also, there’s also the Freres doctrine which keeps members of the military (and, yes, cadets/midshipmen at the federal service academies are members of the military) from suing for damages suffered in the course of their military duty.

–Snip-- Of quote.

Not for nothing, but I would pay good money to see the inevitable Craigslist Job offer for volunteers. Trump Campaign. Earn College Credit !! Letters of Reference ! Just lick 200 seats and verify same !!!