A former Equinox member and his wife were awarded $10.875 million by a Connecticut Superior Court jury last month.
The jury ruled in favor of Chetan Vaid and his wife, Sreemoee Mukherjee, on Feb. 23 in the personal training injury case they filed naming Equinox Greenwich Old Track Road Inc., Equinox Holdings Inc. and personal trainer Joseph Dominguez as defendants.
The jury's verdict found all three defendants negligent, and determined the defendants were 75 percent negligent and Vaid was 25 percent negligent. Vaid was awarded $12.5 million total for past and future economic and non-economic damages. Mukherjee was awarded $2 million for loss of consortium. The $14.5 million total was adjusted by 25 percent for the $10.875 million award.
Vaid and Mukherjee sought economic damages, compensatory damages, punitive damages, attorney fees and other relief the court deemed just related to a stroke Vaid was diagnosed with after a November 2011 training session at the Greenwich Equinox, according to the complaint in the case obtained by Club Industry.
The complaint alleges that Dominguez did not develop a progressive training program for Vaid based on his specific abilities and that Dominguez overloaded the weight resistance in Vaid's training program. During the training session, Dominguez allegedly instructed Vaid to use a rowing machine set at its highest resistance.
After one or two pulls on the rowing machine, Vaid allegedly stopped rowing and told Dominguez he was feeling dizzy, experiencing blurry vision and asked for a moment to recover. Dominguez insisted Vaid continue exercising following a water break even though he wanted to stop, according to the complaint.
Dominguez then allegedly instructed Vaid to continue the training session by doing push-ups with his feet elevated using suspension straps. Vaid requested to stop after three push-ups because his symptoms had not subsided, according to the complaint.
Vaid allegedly reported his blurred vision was persisting and requested to stop training, but Dominguez allegedly instructed him to finish with light bench presses. Vaid's blurry vision intensified after performing a few bench presses, and he insisted that he stop training against Dominguez's instructions, according to the complaint.
Vaid's symptoms did not improve after he went home and ate dinner, according to the complaint. He went to the emergency room at Greenwich Hospital where a CT scan revealed that Vaid suffered a carotid artery dissection, which caused a stroke, according to the complaint. Vaid's "painful and serious injuries" listed in the complaint, some or all of which may be permanent, were a result of Dominguez's negligence and carelessness, the complaint alleges.
The complaint alleges the Equinox managers knew and discussed that Dominguez used training methods not appropriate for Equinox clients and those methods should be "scaled back." All three defendants admitted Dominguez was allowed to train clients at the Equinox club, but they denied the allegation about inappropriate training methods and other claims made by Vaid, according to the defendants' answers filed in response to the complaint obtained by Club Industry.
All three defendants argued that any injuries, losses and damages allegedly sustained by Vaid were directly caused by his own negligence and carelessness, according to the answers. If Vaid was suffering any symptoms, he failed to inform the defendants of his symptoms, and if he was suffering any symptoms during his workout, he failed to suspend, restrict and/or discontinue his workout, according to the answers.