(Correction: A previous version of this report incorrectly identified the defendant named in this lawsuit. The defendant is LA Fitness.)
A motion filed by LA Fitness, Irvine, California, to dismiss an injury-based lawsuit in New York was denied by a Nassau County judge earlier this month.
Judge Jeffrey Brown denied LA Fitness' motion for summary judgment to dismiss plaintiff Sabri Lik's complaint in a May 5 ruling. Lik allegedly suffered a knee injury during a basketball game when he jumped and landed on a "defective floor board" at a Levittown, New York, LA Fitness in January 2014, according to the order.
LA Fitness argued that Lik was participating in a sporting activity that contained risks that he assumed by engaging in the activity, and it was those risks that caused the injury and not any negligent conduct on behalf of LA Fitness, according to the order. LA Fitness claimed that Lik did not provide the club any evidence of any floor board defect and contended there were no records of any formal complaints related to the floor's condition prior to Lik's injury, according to the order. LA Fitness alleged that regular inspections were done prior to the incident and revealed no flooring-related issues, according to the order.
Lik's attorneys opposed LA Fitness' contentions, arguing that the company failed to show its entitlement to judgment as a matter of law because the evidence established Lik's injury was caused by the floor boards, which is not an inherent risk of basketball. Lik further asserted that LA Fitness did not provide an affidavit from any expert supporting its "patently absurd" position that the existence of a defective gymnasium floorboard is a commonly inherent risk in basketball, according to the order. Lik also contended LA Fitness has not provided any evidence when the court was last inspected prior to the injury.
Brown separated the parties' arguments into two issues in his decision: the assumption of risk, and the actual and constructive notice of the defective condition that allegedly caused Lik's injury.
Citing various case law, Brown explained the application standard for the assumption of risk should include whether the conditions caused by the defendant's negligence are unique and created a dangerous condition over and above usual inherent dangers in the sport, according to the order.
"The court finds that it is for the trier of fact to determine whether any comparative fault lies, as it would in a typical case involving an allegedly negligent condition occurring in the ordinary course of any property's maintenance," Brown wrote in the order.
Brown noted the LA Fitness club's operation manager failed to testify to any specific inspection procedure on the date in the area where Lik allegedly was injured. Instead, the manager's depositions referred to inspections as daily visual inspections via "walk-throughs of the gym," according to the order. Brown noted no records were kept of those inspections.
"Therefore, defendant offered no testimony from an employee working that day regarding the last time the gymnasium and basketball court were checked prior to plaintiff's accident," Brown wrote in the order.
Lik's original complaint filed with the court was not immediately available for this report. The next court appearance in the case is scheduled for June 2, according to court records.