Do Gym Waivers Actually Mean Anything?

31-2-3451 Torres v. Krank, LLC, N.J. Super. App. Div. (per curiam) (9 pp.)

Submitted by New Jersey Personal Injury Lawyer, Jeffrey Hark.

At some point, everyone has signed some kind of waiver and release form.  Often times these forms are used at gyms, recreational associations, etc. These waivers can be enforced if the right language is used! A recent case tells us exactly what is required . . .

In the case, the plaintiff joined a gym.  Before being able to join, he was required to sign a waiver and release of liability form.  The form included language releasing the gym from liability from negligence on their part, and provided a description that any “open classes” are covered by the waiver.  As you’ve probably figured out by now, plaintiff injured his Achilles tendon in a “run block” class while using a resistance band.   Plaintiff sued the gym for his injuries.

Plaintiff argued that the waiver did not cover his injury because the waiver  was labeled with “Krank L.L.C.” (the name of the gym), but the gym later changed its name to “Krank Systems L.L.C.” Further, the plaintiff argued that the class in which he was injured was not covered by the waiver as an “open class” because it was held on Sundays when the gym was closed.

The Court rejected both of the plaintiff’s arguments.  Even though the gym changed its name, the plaintiff signed the waiver under the prior name and waiver liability to it.  Further, the gym had always held out to be operating under both names, so essentially the name change was inconsequential.  Lastly, the Court ruled that the class was covered by the waiver under an “open class” because an open class was considered to be open to any gym member who paid the extra fee, as opposed to just one on one training.

Because the Court rejected both arguments, the plaintiff’s claim was dismissed.  If you or someone you know has been injured in this type of circumstance, make sure you hire an experienced attorney to review the language of these waivers, because if they are not carefully worded they might not cover your injury!

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Jeffrey Hark is a New Jersey Civil and Criminal Lawyer.

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