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Health club sued for premises liability after treadmill accident

The California Third District Court of Appeal recently overturned an order for summary judgment issued by a Superior Court judge. The case involves a premises liability claim made by a non-English-speaking member of a health and fitness club. The woman claims to have suffered severe injuries when she a fell from a treadmill at the defendant’s premises.

She alleges that the equipment at the health club was arranged in a manner that allowed her to strike her head on an adjacent piece of equipment when she fell. The defendant denied liability, arguing that the plaintiff signed a release accepting responsibility for any injuries suffered on the premises. However, the plaintiff cannot speak or read the English language, and claims the defendant obtained her signature in a fraudulent manner. She claims that the membership manager of the health club failed to use a translator and that her understanding at the time was that she was simply signing a payment agreement.

Additionally, the woman claims negligence in the way the equipment was arranged on the health club floor. It was apparently determined that the manufacturer of the treadmills that are used at the club clearly indicated that there must be a clear area of at least six feet between the treadmills and other equipment. It is claimed that the manufacturer’s instructions were ignored, and only three to four feet of clearance were provided between equipment.

The appellate justices concluded that the manner in which the signature was obtained constitutes a triable issue of fact and determined that there was sufficient evidence of gross negligence to survive a motion for summary judgment. California property owners are responsible for the safety of all persons who are lawfully on their property, and premises liability claims may result in the event that an individual suffers personal injury. The services of experienced premises liability attorneys are available for those seeking to protect their legal rights when pursuing recovery of financial losses after suffering injuries on the property of another.

Source:, “C.A. Revives Claim for Injuries Sustained in Treadmill Accident“, Kenneth Ofgang, June 10, 2015