Avakova v. Fitness International, LLC


    Plaintiff alleged that she suffered a shoulder injury while using a malfunctioning treadmill at a LA Fitness club. She claimed the treadmill started moving very fast as soon as she turned it on.  There are about 20 treadmills at the club, and plaintiff never identified which treadmill caused her injuries. Plaintiff admitted that she was a member of LA Fitness and signed her membership agreement and waiver of liability. 

    In discovery, Plaintiff deposed the operations manager and the equipment technician for the club.  Both testified they never had any prior similar problems with the treadmills.  Defendant then moved for summary judgment based on plaintiff’s signed express waiver of liability.

    In hopes of defeating the motion for summary judgment, plaintiff retained an expert to inspect the treadmills. During the site inspection, it became clear that plaintiff’s expert had no idea which one was the subject treadmill.  Nonetheless,  plaintiff still filed an Opposition to the motion for summary judgment. Plaintiff’s expert stated in his declaration “it is impossible to determine exactly why the subject treadmill malfunctioned at the time of the incident.” While contending that defendant should have done more to inspect and maintain the treadmills, plaintiff’s expert failed to identify any specific standard that was violated.

    The Court granted summary judgment for the defendant based on the express waiver of liability and plaintiff’s failure to meet her burden to establish gross negligence. 

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