Waivers Protect Georgia Health Club and Personal Trainer

 By Doyice Cotten

A man and his wife joined a gym, signing a total of 3 waivers of liability. He began working with a personal trainer and on the day he suffered a stroke, he took a food supplement (R.A.G.E.), which he had bought elsewhere, and did a workout with the trainer. He sued the gym alleging the workout was too vigorous and sued the drug manufacturer.

The first document he signed was a membership agreement with an exculpatory agreement within it:

“WAIVER AND RELEASE LIABILITY”:

The Club urges you and all members to obtain a physical examination from a doctor before using any exercise equipment or participating in any exercise class.

Health Club Case Sheds Light on Puerto Rico Waiver Law

By Doyice Cotten

Kelvin Lugo lost part of his index finger while returning a dumbbell to the rack as another dumbbell shifted and rolled onto his finger.  He sued alleging negligence on the part of Health Club of America (HCA). Among the defenses offered by HCA was the fact that Lugo had signed the following waiver intended to release the club from liability:

Millenium Fitness Management Urges all members to Obtain a physical examination From their physicians prior to the use of any exercise equipment or attendance in any exercise class .

Needed: Risk Management in Ohio Health Club

By Doyice Cotten

In a recent case (Geczi v. Lifetime Fitness, 2012 Ohio App. LEXIS 2580), Jodi Geczi was injured when her treadmill began jerking violently. The case revealed some serious risk management deficiencies that can be easily avoided by health club management.

First, an employee told her he had known the treadmill was broken.

Second, a club manager told her that he had known the treadmill was malfunctioning the night before.

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 Liability Regarding Childcare Programs

By Doyice Cotten

Health clubs and other sport-, recreation-, and fitness-related businesses or organizations often provide child care programs for pre-school or older children in order to better accommodate the parent. They often require the parent to sign a liability waiver. Of course, such parental waivers are not enforceable in many states; in fact, they are commonly enforced in only about 15 states.

Management should consult their local attorney for two reasons: first, to learn if parental waivers are enforceable in that state,

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.

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,

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). 

State AED Statutes: Do You Know Your State’s Requirements?     Part 2

 JoAnn M. Eickhoff-Shemek, Ph.D., FACSM

President, Fitness Law Academy, LLC

Professor Emeritus, Exercise Science, University of South Florida

This following article was first published in the Fitness Law Academy’s newsletter in January 2021. It has been divided into two parts for our readers. It was written by Dr. JoAnn Eickhoff-Shemek, President of the Fitness Law Academy, LLC  and Editor of its quarterly newsletter.  Individuals can subscribe to this “free” newsletter by going to www.fitnesslawacademy.com.