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Under certain circumstances exculpatory contracts may act as a total bar to a plaintiff's negligence claim. (Harris v. Walker (1988), 119 Ill. 2d 542, 548, 519 N.E.2d 917.) This is because public policy strongly favors the freedom to contract. Harris, 119 Ill. 2d at 548 (quoting McClure Engineering Associates, Inc. v. Reuben H. Donnelley Corp. (1983), 95 Ill. 2d 68, 72, 447 N.E.2d 400); see W. Keeton, D. Dobbs, R. Keeton & D. Owen, Prosser & Keeton on Torts § 68, at 482 (5th ed. 1984).


To be efficacious in a court of law, however, a release must be based upon consideration. (Toffenetti v. Mellor (1926), 323 Ill. 143, 148, 153 N.E. 744; U.S. Fidelity & Guaranty Co. v. Klein Corp. (1st Dist., 6th Div. 1989), 190 Ill. App. 3d 250, 257, 546 N.E.2d 681; American National Bank of Champaign v. Warner (4th Dist. 1984), 127 Ill. App. 3d 203, 208, 468 N.E.2d 184. But see Aqua-Aerobic Systems, Inc. v. Ravitts (2d Dist. 1988), 166 Ill. App. 3d 168, 172, 520 N.E.2d 67.) The same rules apply to an exculpatory agreement. (See Sexton v. Southwestern Auto Racing Association, Inc. (1979), 75 Ill. App. 3d ...

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