Tag Archives: health club

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.

DANGER: Exercise Balls

By Doyice Cotten

Exercise balls have become a staple in health clubs in recent years. They add fun and variety to exercising – but, watch out. While they look harmless, they have been involved in many accidents over the years when they burst and collapse, suddenly sending the patron to the floor with a thud.

The most publicized incident involving exercise balls involved Sacramento Kings and NBA player Francisco Garcia who was injured in October,

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 .

Court Makes Clear the Texas Waiver Law

By Doyice Cotten

Note: This is a common negligence suit in which the defendant claims protection from a waiver of liability. Seldom do courts describe state waiver law so clearly.

Kimberly Ramirez , while a member of 24 Hour Fitness USA, Inc, slipped and fell when she stepped into a puddle of water on the floor (Ramirez v. 24 Hour Fitness USA, Inc., 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 69451).

Waivers NOT Containing the Word “Negligence” Fail in 3 Recent New York State Cases

By Doyice Cotten

Some waivers protect; others fail to protect. There are many reasons waivers fall short of providing the protection intended by the provider.  Some reasons include gross negligence involved, violation of statutory duty, unequal bargaining power, unconscionable contract, no opportunity to bargain, employer/employee relationships and many more. Most common, however, is that the language used in the waiver was ambiguous.  Courts in most states specify that to be enforced, the waivers must clearly and unambiguously describe the intent of the two parties.

Waiver Terminology (Part III): Why the Waiver is Important!

By Doyice Cotten

This is Part III of this series on waiver terminology. This part is intended to impress upon the sport and recreation professional the value of waivers of liability.

Why all the fuss about waivers of liability? The following California case (Padilla v. The Sports Club Company, 2008 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 8150) illustrates very clearly why recreation and sports entities should use waivers.

Situation

Belinda Padilla was a member of The Sports Club Company,

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.

A Change in Arkansas Waiver Law

By Doyice Cotten and Mary Cotten

In Waivers & Releases of Liability 7th ed. (Cotten, D. and Cotten, M, 2010), Arkansas was classified as a Strict state when it comes to enforcing waivers.  A recent U.S. District Court ruling upholding the waiver in Kotcherquina v. Fitness Premier Management (2012) has caused a change in the Arkansas Strict classification. In the book, the Arkansas law is summed up by the following:

The Supreme Court stated that waivers are not invalid per se,

California Landlord Protected by Waiver for “Amenity” Exercise Facility

By Doyice Cotten

Lewis Operating Corporation and Homecoming II operate a residential property which offers a health club or exercise facility as an “amenity” for residents. John Costahaude, a resident, was using a treadmill when an employee or agent of the ownership group  rolled a ball into, or under, the treadmill, causing the treadmill to flip upward and throw Costahaude off the machine. (Lewis Operating Corporation v. The Superior Court of Riverside County, 2011 Cal.

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,