Waiver Cases: Health Clubs 4 Plaintiffs 0

Doyice Cotten summarizes four recent cases involving health clubs. The first three are appellate cases from Minnesota and the fourth is a New Jersey Supreme Court case. These cases re-emphasize the importance of unambiguous waivers. One might say that two of the three Minnesota cases involve gross negligence or willful and wanton actions, but the court did not agree. Actions resulting in injury are not often deemed grossly negligent, reckless, or willful and wanton by the courts. This high threshold further increases the value of well-written liability waivers.

Club Thought it was Protected Against Negligent Emergency Care

By Doyice Cotten

All health clubs need a sound risk management program aimed at the prevention of injuries. Included in that program should also be the use of a comprehensive, broadly worded liability waiver – just in case the risk management program does not work perfectly. In the following case, Locke v. Life Time Fitness, Inc. (2014), we find that Illinois waiver law requires that a waiver be specific and put the client on notice of the risks faced.

Waiver and Signage Helps Protect an Illinois Gymnastics Club

By Doyice Cotten

A strong waiver written specifically for a particular sport business can help to protect the business against liability for negligence resulting in injuries. In Macias v. Naperville Gymnastics Club (2015), Kamil Macias paid ten dollars and signed a liability waiver in order to use the facility. While at the club, Macias observed clients landing in a foam jumping pit; he tried it and suffered a broken neck when he landed head first into the foam.

Club Polo: Do Relationships Prevent Lawsuits and Make Waivers Unnecessary?

By Corinna Charlton, Charlton Equine Law

Editor’s Note: Thanks to Corinna for this contribution to SportWaiver.com. She is an equine attorney in San Francisco. This article originally ran in her blog, http://ribbonsandredtape.blogspot.com/ on June  7, 2012.

“It’s the Friends that make us Nervous!”

My younger brother Collin (shown in the photo) is a polo superstar; he has gone to numerous interscholastic and intercollegiate national polo finals,

NJ Club Saved by Waiver

A patron’s fall off a stationary bike meets a court’s support of waiver protection for clubs.

By John T. Wolohan
This January, 2010, article written by John Wolohan illustrates the value of  an effective waiver when an injury occurs.

Why do courts in some jurisdictions fail to uphold waivers, while other courts will accept them in most cases? Often, the reason is a belief that waivers encourage a lack of care. As a result, a court will closely scrutinize and invalidate a waiver if it is found to violate public policy or is overly broad,

Cardiac Care in Clubs

This article by Doyice Cotten originally appeared in Fitness Management, but is as timely today as ever. Health, fitness, and recreation providers should have a plan in place for dealing with heart attacks and other serious incidents. Failure to do so can leave the provider liable.

Jerry Atcovitz suffered a heart attack while playing tennis at Gulph Mills Tennis Club in Pennsylvania.  He later filed suit against the club claiming that damage to his heart could have been mitigated if the club had utilized an automated external defibrillator (AED). 

Will My Waiver Protect Me When someone has an Ordinary “Slip and Fall?”

By Doyice Cotten

It is well-established that the common law imposes a duty of care on business owners to maintain safe premises for their business invitees (clients, customers, or potential clients).  Visitors to a place of business generally fall into one of three categories and in most states, the duty owed the visitor depends upon the “category” into which the visitor falls.

The three categories are, first, the invitee — one who has an express or implied invitation to enter the business (e.g.,

Most Waivers Are Adhesion Contracts – So What?

By Doyice Cotten

There is much confusion and misinformation about adhesion contracts as they relate to the enforceability of liability waivers in recreation, fitness, and sport activities. There is a common misconception that adhesion contracts are against public policy and subsequently unenforceable.

What is an Adhesion Contract?

An adhesion contract is a “standardized contract which is imposed and drafted by the party with superior bargaining power and which relegates the subscribing party only the option of signing the contract or rejecting it” (i.e.,

Life of Coach Saved with AED

by Doyice Cotten

The Longview News-Journal recently reported on life-saving measures taken by quick-reacting athletes and trainers when the track and field coach collapsed on the field. Once again, quick thinking, coupled with the availability of an AED, resulted in saving a life.

The fact that Longview (Texas) High School had an Automated External Defibrillator readily available (and personnel trained in its use) was the key to avoiding a tragic death. As soon as the coach collapsed,