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Gym Injury Case Allowed to Proceed Based on Failure to Perform Required Maintenance

Filed under Premises Liability, Traumatic Brain Injuries
Gym Injury Case Allowed to Proceed Based on Failure to Perform Required Maintenance

Earlier this month, an appellate court in neighboring California reversed the decision of a lower court that dismissed a plaintiff’s case against the gym where she was injured while she and her husband were working out. In the case of Chavez v. 24-Hour Fitness, the plaintiff suffered a traumatic brain injury at a 24-Hour Fitness location when the back panel of a workout machine came loose and struck her in the head. The woman and her husband sued the gym, alleging that it was negligent in performing the required maintenance to the machine to ensure that such accidents did not occur.

The Facts of the Case
According to the court’s opinion, after the woman sustained a traumatic brain injury, she suffered from “lapses of consciousness, severe headaches, photophobia, poor memory, stuttering, dizziness, nausea, changes in her ability to taste, decreased appetite, and personality changes.” She and her husband filed suit against the gym, alleging claims of ordinary and gross negligence, product liability, and premises liability.

24-Hour Fitness could not locate the person responsible for the routine maintenance since he was no longer an employee. However, other employees were called and testified that the machines were routinely maintained, but they could not produce documentation indicating when the particular machine at issue was last serviced.

At trial, 24-Hour Fitness submitted the written liability release form that the woman signed upon the initiation of her membership. The waiver form, 24-Hour Fitness claimed, was a complete defense to the ordinary negligence and premises liability claims. As to the product liability claim, 24-Hour Fitness claimed that they were not in the chain of distribution for the allegedly dangerous product, so they could not be held liable under that theory.

Regarding the gross negligence claim, 24-Hour Fitness argued that there was no showing that there was an “extreme departure from the ordinary standard of care” that a gross negligence claim requires because it employed a technician who performed regular maintenance on the machines.

The trial judge agreed with the defendant and dismissed all of the plaintiffs’ claims.

On Appeal, the Decision is Reversed
The appellate court reversed the court’s decision as to the gross negligence claim and allowed the case to proceed on that claim alone. The court determined that, given the evidence presented, a factfinder could find in favor of the plaintiff, and dismissal at this early juncture was not appropriate.

The court based its opinion on the fact that there was no evidence of routine maintenance, but only 24-Hour Fitness’ claim that the machine was routinely serviced. This, the court held, did not amount to the kind nor quantum of evidence that could defeat the plaintiffs’ claims at this stage in the proceeding.

Have You Suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury While on Another’s Property?

If you or a loved one has recently been the victim of a slip-and-fall accident on the property of another in Las Vegas or the surrounding area, you may be entitled to monetary damages to help compensate you for all you have been through. Traumatic brain injuries can be very serious and may result in life-altering symptoms that persist throughout a person’s lifetime. To learn how you may be able to recover for your injuries, contact one of the dedicated attorneys at Paul Padda Law, PLLC at 800-967-1923 to set up a consultation. Calling is free, and you will not be pressured to continue with your case unless it is your desire to do so.

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Paul Padda, a former federal prosecutor, is the founder of Paul Padda Law: a law firm based in Las Vegas Nevada representing plaintiffs throughout the nation in personal injury and other civil cases. With over 15 years experience litigating in federal and state court, Paul has a proven track record of success, including obtaining one of the largest jury verdicts in Nevada history. A first generation American, Paul is dedicated and committed to helping his clients navigate the legal system and take on large and powerful interests. A lawyer who truly cares, Paul provides individualized and compassionate attention to each and every one of his clients.

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