Tag Archives: health club

You Be the Judge – Test your Liability Knowledge

By Doyice Cotten

Occasionally, we offer the reader an opportunity to test his or her liability judgment. Take a few minutes and check this waiver and see if you think it protected the defendant health club from liability for negligence (Hoffner v. Fitness Xpress, 2016).

Situation

Charlotte Hoffner had been a member of Fitness Xpress, a health club in Michigan, for about two weeks when she slipped and fell on ice on the sidewalk in front of the club.

Understanding Pennsylvania Waiver Law

By Doyice Cotten

Evans v. Fitness & Sports Club, LLC., 2016). This week we will look at Pennsylvania law and the ruling in the previous case. To review the facts:

On November 12, 2014, Patricia Evans was participating in a personal training session at LA Fitness with personal trainer Brandon McElwee. During the session, McElwee directed Evans to perform “suicide runs,” an activity that required Evans to repeatedly run forward to a weight and touch it and then run backward to the start line.

“Negligence or Otherwise” Language Questioned in New Jersey Health Club Case

By Doyice Cotten

Jenna Sauro, a New Jersey resident, filed a class action lawsuit against L.A. Fitness International, LLC. (Sauro v. L.A. Fitness International, Inc., 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 58144). She made many allegations including that the contract violated three New Jersey statutes. One of the claims made by the plaintiff included the allegation that the waiver attempted to waive liability for intentional conduct, recklessness, and gross negligence.

This claim arose from language in the waiver:

 Member hereby releases and holds L.A.

Careful Waiver Construction Results in Protection for a Tennessee YMCA

By Doyice Cotten

Sandra Gibson joined the Rutherford County YMCA and signed a liability waiver. At a later date, she was injured when she tripped on an allegedly uneven or cracked sidewalk about 20 feet from the entrance to the YMCA.

She filed suit alleging negligence by the YMCA. The trial court denied the YMCA’s motion for summary judgment. The YMCA appealed claiming protection from the waiver signed by Gibson. The waiver reads:

In consideration of gaining membership and/or being allowed to participate in the activities and programs of the YMCA of Middle Tennessee (“YMCA”) and to use its facilities (whether owned or leased),

Two Waiver Tips from a Pennsylvania Court

By Doyice Cotten

In a 2016 Pennsylvania health club case (Hinkal v. Gavin Pardoe & Gold’s Gym, Inc., 2016 Pa. Super. LEXIS 32), the Superior Court upheld a lower court ruling that the waiver in the gym membership agreement was valid and enforceable.

The issues considered in the appeal were:

  1. Whether the six day trial period had expired prior to the injury.
  2. Whether the waiver on the back page of the Membership Agreement is valid and enforceable.

2016 Health Club Cases in New York — No Waivers

By Doyice Cotten

Injuries occurring in health clubs in the State of New York can be problematic for club owners since protection against liability for negligence is ineffective in many circumstances – one being in places of amusement or recreation.  New York statute G.O.L. Sec. 5-326, passed in 1976, deems waivers void as against public policy under specific circumstances.  Specifically, the law provides:

[e]very covenant, agreement or understanding in or in connection with, or collateral to,

Regular Inspections, and Complete Records!! A MUST for Health Clubs . . .

By Doyice Cotten

In Chavez v. 24 Hour Fitness USA, Inc. (2015), Stacey Chavez was injured when the back panel of a “FreeMotion” cable crossover machine (“cross trainer”) struck her in the head. She subsequently filed suit. The machine was still in service despite a missing bracket and missing magnetic strips that were to secure the back panel.

24 Hour Fitness claimed it was not liable because she had signed a waiver of liability – a complete defense against negligence claims.

Causes of Personal Trainer Lawsuits — Part II

Part II – When an Injury Occurs

By Doyice Cotten
Regardless of how careful a personal trainer is, injuries will occur. And when the injury occurs, the question becomes “What do you do now?” Do you suddenly slip on your M.D. outfit and make a diagnosis and provide a cure? Do you panic? Or do you already have an emergency action plan and simply follow that plan? The following three cases will help you to know WHAT NOT TO DO!

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.

Even Broadly Worded Waivers Are not Without Limitations

By Doyice Cotten

Many, or even most, waivers are written in such a manner as to include seemingly all mishaps that can occur to the client. There are many cases illustrating that the power of a liability waiver is not unlimited.

In a 2015 Illinois case (Hawkins v. Capital Fitness, Inc.), Hawkins signed the following waiver:

 

“MEMBER ACKNOWLEDGES THAT EXERCISE, TANNING AND USE OF THE EQUIPMENT AND FACILITIES OF THE COMPANY OR OF THEIR AFFILIATES NATURALLY INVOLVES THE RISK OF INJURY AND MEDICAL DISORDERS,