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January 2017    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Vol. 32, No. 1   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Judge Rules in Deceased Diver’s Family’s Favor

when the liability waiver doesn’t hold up

from the January, 2017 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

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A 2012 death of diver Bill Savage on the Big Island of Hawaii led to a law suit over the negligence of the dive operator. The diver had signed a waiver, but the court refused to uphold it. Is it the wave of the future or just an anomaly? Here is a summary of the law suit, followed by a commentary by legal expert Phyllis Coleman.

* * *

Inexperienced divers, Bill Savage, 49, his 17-yearold daughter Chelsea (a snorkeler) and 13-yearold son Nicolas, (a recently certified Junior Open Water Diver) and wife Sandra Hambrook, from Calgary, Canada, took a trip to Hawaii in 2012. Because they had not dived since a trip to Maui in 2010, the family took the precaution of enrolling in a refresher course with a local dive shop before they left their Calgary, Canada home.

In Kailua Kona, after explaining they were inexperienced divers, they booked dives with Hawaiian Scuba Shack. On the second day, they went to a site called "Suck 'em Up, Skull Cavern," because someone had asked to see lava tubes....


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