Lawsuit Illustrates a “How-to” Guide for Personal Trainers

By Doyice Cotten

Personal trainers should recognize the potential for injury in their profession and strive to serve their clients safely and effectively. Gregory Pedersen, the personal trainer in Berisaj v. LTF Club Operations Company, Inc. (2019), was faced with a lawsuit by a client of 17 fitness sessions; the lawsuit alleged 1) negligence, 2) gross negligence, and 3) willful and wanton misconduct.

Plaintiff Victor Berisaj, who had been a client of LTF since 2007,

Waiver enforced under Maritime Law in Puerto Rico Jet ski Case

By Doyice Cotten

In the post last week, we looked at a waiver in a Puerto Rico jet ski case (Morgan v. Water Toy Shop, Inc., 2018). The Puerto Rican court examined the case in which the plaintiff was seriously injured in a collision with another party; the plaintiff sued the shop that rented the jet ski to the party who caused the accident. Since the incident occurred in navigable waters, the suit fell under maritime law.

Pennsylvania Waiver Law

By Doyice Cotten

Courts in few states have given as much guidance regarding liability waivers for negligence as has Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania has many requirements for effective waivers, but its courts consistently enforce well-written waivers that follow these guidelines.

Validity of Waivers

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court addressed the validity of waivers of liability for negligence a number of times in the previous century and in this one. It has often specified that an exculpatory clause is valid if:

  • “it does not contravene any policy of the law,

Two Health Club Cases Clarify Delaware Waiver Law

By Doyice Cotten

Reminder: There is a new Fitness Law Academy Newsletter designed specifically for fitness professionals. It is written by Dr. JoAnn Eickhoff-Shemek, a fitness industry authority. And the best news of all —  its FREE!.    Click here for your free subscription!   djc

In 2016, the Delaware Supreme Court addressed a case in which a Planet Fitness health club member was injured when a cable broke on a seated rowing machine (Ketler v.

State Parental Waiver Law Summarized — Part VIII

 

By Doyice Cotten

This is the eighth of an eight-part series on the enforcement of parental waivers.

As you should have surmised from the previous posts, parental waiver law varies by state. One law that remains the same in all states is that a contract signed only by the minor is unenforceable and non-binding, with a few possible exceptions (e.g., for necessities, when emancipated, when approved by the court).

I mentioned in an earlier post that prior to 1990,

Choice-of-Law Provision Fails: Waiver Falls under Vermont Law

By Doyice Cotten

Brian Kearney was seriously injured while competing in a USSA sanctioned amateur downhill ski race at Okemo Mountain Resort in Ludlow, Vermont, in February, 2015. USSA members were eligible to participate and membership required signing a liability waiver (Kearney v. Okemo Limited Liability Company, 2016).

The waiver contained the following exculpatory provision:

Member hereby unconditionally WAIVES AND RELEASES ANY AND ALL CLAIMS, AND AGREES TO HOLD HARMLESS,

Delaware Court Enforces Motocross Parental Waiver for Negligence but Not for Recklessness

By Doyice Cotten

 

In 2013, Tommy Lynam (age 13), was riding a motocross bicycle at Blue Diamond Motocross near New Castle. While riding, Tommy rode off a jump, made a hard landing, and was unable to stop in time before colliding with a large metal shipping container. Lynam sued alleging negligence and recklessness (Lynam v. Blue Diamond Motocross LLC, 2016).

 

Lynam’s father had signed a waiver entitled “Parental Consent, Release and Waiver of Liability,

Within the Scope of Employment: Vicarious Liability and Maritime Law

By Doyice Cotten

Any number of parties may be named as defendants in a negligence suit. The obvious defendant is the party that committed the act leading to the injury – generally an employee of an organization or corporation. The supervisor or administrator who serves as the superior of the employee is also frequently named. And commonly, the employer of the employee (generally the “deep pocket”)  is frequently named based on the doctrine of respondeat superior (also called vicarious liability.)

The doctrine of respondeat superior states that “the negligence of the employee is imputed to the corporate entity if the employee was acting within the scope of the the employee’s responsibility and authority and if the act was not grossly negligent,

A Look at California Law on Negligence and Liability Waivers

By Doyice Cotten

In R.H. v. Los Gatos Union School District (2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 47035), a high school wrestler was injured when he wrestled a larger opponent in a match. There were many claims including mismatching and negligence. Prior to wrestling, the father of R.H. signed a liability waiver. Here we will only look at the waiver defense of the defendants.

When R.H. joined the wrestling team, his father signed the required “After School Sports Emergency/Health Insurance form”

U.S. District Court Case Clouds Vermont Waiver Law

By Doyice Cotten

Over the past 20 years four Vermont Supreme Court rulings have made Vermont waiver law relatively clear. A recent U.S. District Court for the District of Vermont ruling (Littlejohn v. Timberquest Park at Magic, LLC, 2015) seems to have muddled the issue. It seems that occasionally federal courts get it wrong in predicting how a state supreme court would rule.

The Vermont Supreme Court (Dalury v.