Tag Archives: health club

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,

Moot Waiver and “Open and Obvious” Issue

By Doyice Cotten

This Ohio case involved a slip and fall in a puddle of water when Marie Daher was leaving the swimming pool area going down a hallway to the shower area. She sued Bally’s based on premises liability; she alleged Bally’s was negligent in maintaining its premises (Daher v. Bally’s Total Fitness, 2015). Bally’s claimed that the hazard was open and obvious and that plaintiff had waived liability for negligence.

Problem with Waiver Contained Within Membership Agreement

By Doyice Cotten

In Hinkal v. Gavin Pardoe & Gold’s Gym (2015), Melinda Hinkal was injured while a client of a Pennsylvania health club. She had signed a membership agreement containing a waiver of liability. While working with a personal trainer, she suffered a back injury and filed a negligence claim.

The major issue in the case was whether the waiver language was sufficiently conspicuous to be enforceable.

The Agreement

The Gold’s Gym membership agreement is printed on a single,

A Look at the Instructional Element of New York’s G.O.L. 5-326 Statute Prohibiting Certain Waivers of Liability

By Doyice Cotten

The rulings in three 2014 New York State cases ride on whether the purpose of the business or institution is primarily instructional or primarily recreational.

One-on-One Training Facility

In Kim v. Hanson (2014 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 8187), the plaintiff was engaged in a personal training program under the supervision and instruction of the trainer when he suffered an injury. The injury occurred at a one-on-one training facility; the plaintiff had previously signed a waiver of liability.