More Lawsuits Filed Against LA Fitness, Bally

In the midst of more lawsuits filed against both LA Fitness and Bally Total Fitness, LA Fitness has updated access provisions to its clubs for former Bally members.

The latest class-action lawsuits were filed last week in Pennsylvania and New Jersey on behalf of former Bally members who claim LA Fitness violated their contracts after the Irvine, CA-based company acquired 171 Bally clubs last November. The New Jersey suit was filed Jan. 18 in Superior Court in Camden, NJ.

The plaintiffs’ attorney, Mark Guralnick, said in media reports last week that he has received inquiries from members in California, Texas, Minnesota and Illinois in addition to members in the Philadelphia and New Jersey areas. On a Facebook page, Guralnick said last week that more than 100 plaintiffs are involved in the lawsuits.

LA Fitness and Bally are being sued on the grounds of a violation of the state health club services act, a violation of the state consumer fraud or unfair and deceptive trade practices act, a breach of contract, fraud and constructive fraud, and a breach of implied contracts and promissory estoppel.

Earlier this month, a lawsuit seeking class-action status was filed in U.S. District Court in Chicago. The plaintiffs in that case also claim LA Fitness and Chicago-based Bally violated consumer fraud and deceptive business practices acts, adding LA Fitness is not honoring lifetime memberships from Bally.

Attorneys for Bally and LA Fitness as well as Christopher Cooper, the attorney representing the plaintiffs, attended a hearing in that case on Jan. 17. The two companies have until Feb. 7 to file a motion to dismiss. The next hearing is scheduled for Feb. 10.

LA Fitness and Bally typically do not comment on pending litigation. However, LA Fitness recently provided a membership status update on its website, saying the company has simplified its access rules, which carry several provisions.

All of the Bally “local” members will have access to LA Fitness clubs and acquired Bally clubs in the state of enrollment, and all of the Bally “national” members will have access to those clubs in all states, LA Fitness says. The exception in both cases is for New York clubs (unless the members enrolled in New York) and clubs designated as Signature and Athletic clubs.

Also, Bally members in the acquisition who have only single-club access will continue to have access to that single club. If that club has closed, those members will have access to the nearest Bally or LA Fitness club.

Members who purchased lifetime memberships at the Bally clubs that LA Fitness acquired will continue to have access under the terms of the latest provisions, LA Fitness says.

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