3 Gyms that took a serious beating from strange lawsuits

3 Gyms that took a serious beating from strange lawsuits

‘Don’t get injured’ is rarely on top of anyone’s list of fitness goals. Injuries are relatively common when exercising, but some are worse than others. Some are so bad that they result in weighty lawsuits, such as:

But if you thought gyms are only sued for physical injuries due to negligence, you’re not flexing your imagination hard enough.

When a women-only gym refuses a male member

Women-only gyms like Curves in SE Renton provide women with a comfortable and safe space to work out. But aside from immaculate Stairmasters and BodyPump classes, some women prefer to exercise in a non-co-ed environment due to religious requirements or an overall aversion to leering males.

But Massachusetts lawyer James J. Foster wasn’t buying it. In 1998, he sued women’s gym Healthworks Fitness Center for illegal sex discrimination...and won.

The judge ruled in his favor due to an anti-discrimination law that essentially stated that banning males in a public place (i.e., a gym) overruled the concerns of women who just want to exercise without being ogled (or constantly hit on) by men.

James may have won that lawsuit, but the case also pushed women-only gyms advocates to appeal for the exclusion of fitness centers from the public accommodations law.

Considering that thousands of women-only gyms still exist and thrive today, the fight against the tyranny of women-only health clubs rages on for people like James. Fun fact: Even the gym he sued remains steadfastly against Y-chromosome members.

When a gym cancels its free breakfast

If an upscale fitness club promised that your membership comes with a daily complimentary breakfast and then canceled it without warning, you’d be right to call them deceitful. For New York lawyer and breakfast buff Richard Katz, it’s ‘illegal, despicable, reckless, malicious, deliberate, and immoral.’

Those were some choice words he used when he sued The Setai Club and Spa Wall Street for $730,000. The Manhattan health club scrapped its free breakfast offering when its partner establishment (which prepared the meals), the SHO Shaun Hergatt restaurant, closed.

To compensate, Setai replaced its full breakfast menu with a cold buffet on a roof deck, which simply did not compare to the sumptuous omelets, pancakes, waffles, and meats previously served by the club, at least according to Richard.

The $5,000-a-year gym canceled his membership and gave him a pro-rated refund. A reasonable man would go on his merry way and seek membership from a breakfast club elsewhere, but Richard was not such a man.

When slick sauna substances imperil lives

After an intense workout session at the gym, some people go to the sauna to detoxify and relax. And most people do not go expecting to break a bone. Manhattan resident Mark Moskowitz certainly wasn't.

Mark filed suit against Bally’s Total Fitness in New York after he slipped and fell in the gym sauna on a ‘foreign white substance’ (which could be shampoo, lotion, or...mayonnaise from the breakfast bar) and fractured his shoulder. He blamed cruising and lewd behavior for the injuries he sustained in that particular Bally’s.

According to his lawsuit, the health club’s staff do a poor job of preventing deviant members from engaging in indecent acts and even encourage them by leaving a water hose and liquid soap, accouterments obviously meant for cleaning up the evidence. Mark sued for an undisclosed amount, and definitely won’t be pacified by a complimentary gym membership.

Testing the limits of your physical strength shouldn’t result in broken bones and a defeated spirit. If you get injured while working out at your gym and you believe the trainer or the facility is at fault, call on Buckingham, LaGrandeur & Williams to help you exercise your right to claim damages.