Thursday, December 1, 2016

Summary Judgment Affirmed on Basis of Fitness Center's Waiver or Release Form in Slip and Fall Case

In its recent decision in the case of Toro v. Fitness Int’l, LLC, 2016 Pa.Super. 243 (Pa. Super. Nov. 10, 2016 Solano, Bowes, and Ott, J.J.) (Op. by Solano, J.), the Pennsylvania Superior Court affirmed the entry of summary judgment in favor of a defendant fitness center in a slip and fall case.  

As part of its decision, the appellate court ruled that a release or waiver of liability signed by the plaintiff when joining the health club was valid and binding.   The court stated that, where someone engages in a voluntary athletic or recreational activity, a release in a contract for the use of the facilities is not contrary to public policy.   The court also ruled that a waiver of liability in this regard was not a contract of adhesion because there is no requirement for anyone to engage in recreational activities.  

The court also referred to the oft cited rule that a failure to read a release or waiver language before signing it does not affect its validity.   Here, the court also found that the waiver, which was placed in a box with the bolded words “release and waiver,” was sufficiently conspicuous.  

The court otherwise ruled that the plaintiff failed to establish negligence against the defendant due to the absence of any actual or constructive knowledge or the allegedly slippery condition that allegedly caused the Plaintiff to fall.  

Anyone wishing to review the Superior Court's decision in Toro may click this LINK.

I send thanks to Attorney James M. Beck of the Philadelphia office of the Reed Smith law firm for bringing this case to my attention.  

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