Tag Archives: health club

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,

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,

Test Your Legal IQ: Predict Whether the Court Enforced this Waiver

By Doyice Cotten

Many waivers, even otherwise well-written ones, fail because the language can be interpreted in two ways. This case provides us with a good example of such a waiver (Fresnedo v. Porky’s Gym III, 2019). The judges read the waiver and came up with two diametrically opposed interpretations. Here are the facts of the incident, some pertinent Florida waiver rulings, the waiver itself, and the arguments of the two sides – one saying the plaintiff clearly waived his right to redress;

Defective Rowing Machine & No “Out of Order” Sign — Waiver Protected

By Doyice Cotten

AnneMichelle Johnson, a member of Gold’s Gym Rockies, LLC, sustained an injury when trying to use a rowing machine. She set her usual resistance, tried to pull, heard a pop in her back, and the pull bar did not move. She set resistance at zero, tried to pull again, and it did not move. About that time an employee came over and told her it was broken and he was there to fix it.

She found her back was severely injured and filed a premises liability suit alleging negligence (Johnson v.

What if the Client does not Read English?

By Mary Cotten

The question of the effectiveness of a waiver signed by a non-reader or a non-English reader is a concern for sport, recreation, and fitness providers.  Courts generally hold that a person who signs a contract is bound by it whether they read it or not.

This was one of the issues before the U. S. District Court in a 2016 New Jersey case, Kang v. LA Fitness.  Kang, who could not read or understand English,

Enforcement of Health Club Waivers of Liability Challenged by New Jersey Supreme Court Judge

By Doyice Cotten

Courts in most states will enforce well-written liability waivers signed willingly by adults. Nevertheless, many people argue strongly against this protection for service providers. This post presents good arguments by one judge opposed to health club immunity from liability granted by such waivers.

Current New Jersey case law supports the enforcement of health club liability waivers. In fact, the Supreme Court of New Jersey recently determined to accept a stipulation for dismissal following a settlement of the matter by the parties.

Waiver Fails to Protect Sports club in a Trip and Fall Case

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

Dr. Eickhoff-Shemek is Professor Emeritus, University of South Florida (USF) and is President of the Fitness Law Academy, LLC (www.fitnesslawacademy.com). This post originally appeared in the Fitness Law Academy Newsletter, Vol 1, Issue 4 (October, 2018). You may subscribe to the quarterly newsletter free of charge at www.fitnesslawacademy.com.

Case Brief: Crossing-Lyons v. Towns Sport International,

Lack of Equipment Inspections and Concern for Client Safety Is a Shortcut to Lawsuits

By Doyice Cotten

Lawsuits against health clubs are abundant – with dozens each year. There are many allegations in such suits ranging from failure to supervise, to employing uncertified personnel, to bad judgment of personal trainers, and many more causes of injury. One of the most frequent causes of injury has two prongs: 1) failure to regularly (as in daily) inspect the premises  and equipment; and 2) failure to maintain and keep equipment in good repair.

The photos in this post illustrate a potential problem that could result in a client injury and in a possible negligence lawsuit.

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.

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

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.