Tag Archives: health club

Woman Held to Waiver Signed by Husband in California Health Club Case

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By Doyice Cotten

Sheila Brown joined 24 Hour on February 27, 2001, signing the 24 Hour Fitness USA, Inc. membership agreement containing a liability waiver.  She terminated her membership several months later; then, after a few months her son renewed her membership through his corporate membership. Her husband signed the club waiver on her behalf.

Two years later, Sheila tripped over a dumbbell that had been left on the floor and suffered injury. She filed suit against 24 Hour and claimed the waiver was unenforceable because she had not signed the waiver.

NJ Federal Court Addresses Several Waiver Issues:

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By Doyice Cotten

In a recent New Jersey case (Kang v. LA Fitness of South Plainfield, 2016), the court addressed several issues relating to waivers. Among them was 1) non-reader or speaker of English, 2) font size, 3) national association standards, 4) failure to read the waiver, 5) failure to explain the waiver, 6) failure to initial a provision of the waiver, and 7) contract of adhesion.

Ms Kang was injured while working out on the chin/dip assist pull-up machine.

You Be the Judge – Test your Liability Knowledge

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By Doyice Cotten

Occasionally, we offer the reader an opportunity to test his or her liability judgment. Take a few minutes and check this waiver and see if you think it protected the defendant health club from liability for negligence (Hoffner v. Fitness Xpress, 2016).

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Charlotte Hoffner had been a member of Fitness Xpress, a health club in Michigan, for about two weeks when she slipped and fell on ice on the sidewalk in front of the club.

Understanding Pennsylvania Waiver Law

By Doyice Cotten

Evans v. Fitness & Sports Club, LLC., 2016). This week we will look at Pennsylvania law and the ruling in the previous case. To review the facts:

On November 12, 2014, Patricia Evans was participating in a personal training session at LA Fitness with personal trainer Brandon McElwee. During the session, McElwee directed Evans to perform “suicide runs,” an activity that required Evans to repeatedly run forward to a weight and touch it and then run backward to the start line.

“Negligence or Otherwise” Language Questioned in New Jersey Health Club Case

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By Doyice Cotten

Jenna Sauro, a New Jersey resident, filed a class action lawsuit against L.A. Fitness International, LLC. (Sauro v. L.A. Fitness International, Inc., 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 58144). She made many allegations including that the contract violated three New Jersey statutes. One of the claims made by the plaintiff included the allegation that the waiver attempted to waive liability for intentional conduct, recklessness, and gross negligence.

This claim arose from language in the waiver:

 Member hereby releases and holds L.A.

Careful Waiver Construction Results in Protection for a Tennessee YMCA

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By Doyice Cotten

Sandra Gibson joined the Rutherford County YMCA and signed a liability waiver. At a later date, she was injured when she tripped on an allegedly uneven or cracked sidewalk about 20 feet from the entrance to the YMCA.

She filed suit alleging negligence by the YMCA. The trial court denied the YMCA’s motion for summary judgment. The YMCA appealed claiming protection from the waiver signed by Gibson. The waiver reads:

In consideration of gaining membership and/or being allowed to participate in the activities and programs of the YMCA of Middle Tennessee (“YMCA”) and to use its facilities (whether owned or leased),

Two Waiver Tips from a Pennsylvania Court

Young woman weight training. Camera angle view.

By Doyice Cotten

In a 2016 Pennsylvania health club case (Hinkal v. Gavin Pardoe & Gold’s Gym, Inc., 2016 Pa. Super. LEXIS 32), the Superior Court upheld a lower court ruling that the waiver in the gym membership agreement was valid and enforceable.

The issues considered in the appeal were:

  1. Whether the six day trial period had expired prior to the injury.
  2. Whether the waiver on the back page of the Membership Agreement is valid and enforceable.

2016 Health Club Cases in New York — No Waivers

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By Doyice Cotten

Injuries occurring in health clubs in the State of New York can be problematic for club owners since protection against liability for negligence is ineffective in many circumstances – one being in places of amusement or recreation.  New York statute G.O.L. Sec. 5-326, passed in 1976, deems waivers void as against public policy under specific circumstances.  Specifically, the law provides:

[e]very covenant, agreement or understanding in or in connection with, or collateral to,

Regular Inspections, and Complete Records!! A MUST for Health Clubs . . .

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By Doyice Cotten

In Chavez v. 24 Hour Fitness USA, Inc. (2015), Stacey Chavez was injured when the back panel of a “FreeMotion” cable crossover machine (“cross trainer”) struck her in the head. She subsequently filed suit. The machine was still in service despite a missing bracket and missing magnetic strips that were to secure the back panel.

24 Hour Fitness claimed it was not liable because she had signed a waiver of liability – a complete defense against negligence claims.

Causes of Personal Trainer Lawsuits — Part II

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Part II – When an Injury Occurs

By Doyice Cotten
Regardless of how careful a personal trainer is, injuries will occur. And when the injury occurs, the question becomes “What do you do now?” Do you suddenly slip on your M.D. outfit and make a diagnosis and provide a cure? Do you panic? Or do you already have an emergency action plan and simply follow that plan? The following three cases will help you to know WHAT NOT TO DO!