$190,000 – Gym Member Hurt While Using Incline Bench at Gym
Settlement in the case of a 46-year-old man who hurt his right elbow while lifting barbells on the gym club’s incline bench when the bench suddenly and unexpectedly went from a 45 degree angle to zero degrees. The individual went on to have an ulnar transposition surgery to his right arm seven months after the incident and lost several months of work following the surgery.
Michael Lizzi, who handled the action in New York against the gymnasium owner, sued under a theory that the incline bench suffered from over-use and should have been taken out of service.
At the time of the incident, there was no report to any employee of the gym and no formal report made until a letter was sent to the gym owner’s corporate headquarters some weeks later. The gym owner claimed not to have any prior notice of any problem with the incline bench and claimed that the bench was not broken or defective in any way.
The gym owner’s attorneys pointed to the absence of any evidence of any prior notice and the lack of any real defect or failure of any component part of the incline bench. In the course of several depositions taken by Michael Lizzi in the litigation, however, it emerged that none of the managers at the gym had a specific recollection of personally inspecting the incline bench involved.
Furthermore, investigation into the club’s records revealed that the gym club maintained poor records regarding its inspection of the gym’s equipment. Finally, a close review of the gym’s records demonstrated large and unexplained gaps of time in the gym’s inspection logs, including the time period covering the incident.
These points were litigated in the motion for summary judgment that the gym owner’s attorneys filed on its behalf. Employing the abundant evidence of the gym owner’s dubious maintenance practices, Mr. Lizzi was able to defeat the gym owner’s efforts to obtain a summary dismissal of the case and procure a favorable settlement on his client’s behalf.