Do Your Certification Homework

Your certification requirements should go beyond taking an employee’s word for it. Research the certifying organization and make a paper trail to help avoid client injury and litigation.

Ask, “Are the actions of my personal trainers going to land me in a lawsuit?” Client Anne Capati thought the personal trainer she hired at Crunch Gym in New York, N.Y., was an expert. However, she suffered a brain hemorrhage and subsequently died as a result of his recommendations. Her husband, Doug Hanson, filed a lawsuit that has created a stir in the industry.

Waiver Terms and Definitions

Even experienced professionals in recreation, fitness, and sport often misunderstand or confuse some of the terms used. Below are some terms and their definitions that will help you better understand some of the documents that help to protect from liability.

A Successful Back-of-Ticket Waiver

By John Wolohan

From Athletic Business: An injured skier sees his negligence lawsuit slam right into a back-of-ticket waiver.
When trying to determine whether a waiver is valid, one of the first things the courts do is attempt to determine whether the service provider informed the injured individual about the waiver. Next, the court examines whether the individual (assuming his or her injury was caused by the negligence of the service provider) knowingly and willingly relinquished his or her right to sue the provider.

A Warning Shot on Goal – Duty to Provide a Safe Environment

By John Wolohan

Common sense tells you that if your view of the playing surface from the seating bowl includes the back of the goal, you may be in danger of being struck by a ball or puck. Or, maybe not. After a Wake County court threw out Teresa Allred’s lawsuit against a women’s soccer league and the owners and operators of a Cary, N.C., stadium now called SAS Soccer Park, an appeals court ruled in December that the lawsuit could continue.

Duty to do more than just call 911?

The question of whether or not fitness centers have a legal duty to maintain an automated external defibrillator is still being decided on a state-by-state basis. In one recent case, Fowler v. Bally Total Fitness, Maryland’s Cook County Circuit Court ruled that even though there was no legislative mandate requiring an AED, Bally Total Fitness acted with indifference to the welfare and safety of its patrons when it failed to have one on site. …Other jurisdictions have looked at clubs’ duty of care differently. For example, as demonstrated by the Court of Appeal of Florida, Fourth District’s decision in L.A. Fitness International v. Julianna Tringali Mayer… sometimes just promptly calling for medical assistance is enough to satisfy your legal duty.

Undiagnosed Dangers

Summary: A girl’s fatal fall highlights the importance of proper supervision and medical care.
Athletics and recreation administrators have a legal duty to not only provide people using their facilities proper supervision during an activity, but also proper emergency medical care in the case of an injury. As is demonstrated in Spotlite Skating Rink Inc. v. Barnes [2008 Miss. LEXIS 322], what constitutes proper supervision and medical care will often hinge on which testimony a jury finds more credible.

On Dec. 25, 2000, 10-year-old Bianca Barnes and some friends took a bus to the Spotlite Skating Rink in Greenwood, Miss. Accounts of what happened after she arrived there vary. According to Barnes’ friends, Barnes was on the roller skating surface, without skates, and fell, hitting her head. After finding her on the floor crying and holding her head, they helped her to a nearby table, where she stayed with her head down for the rest of the evening. At no time, they claimed, were they asked by any Spotlite employees how to get in touch with Barnes’ mother, and no one from Spotlite helped them get home.

The Importance of Well-Written Waivers

Protect your facility with unambiguous waivers, and make good decisions on the fitness floor to minimize risk.

Ning Yan fell while running on a treadmill, and died from his injuries. A representative of his estate sued, alleging that the fitness center was negligent in placing the treadmill too close to a wall. The estate contended that the treadmill belt threw Yan off the rear of the treadmill into a wall that was only 2 ½ feet from the treadmill.

Has Your Facility Acquired an AED? Now Is the Time!

It is time for fitness centers to enter the 21st century and have an onsite Automated External Defibrillator (AED). Legally, fitness centers no longer have a choice in many states. Not only have these states passed legislation requiring fitness facilities to purchase AEDs and train their staff, but more national professional organizations are taking a stand favoring their use. The day is not far when AEDs will be the required standard of care for fitness centers nationwide.