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Kiernan Trebach Attorneys Hassell & Bassan Obtain Summary Judgment on Behalf of Fitness Club
November 7, 2018

Attorneys Chris Hassell and Andrew Bassan of Kiernan Trebach's D.C. Office obtained summary judgment on behalf of an entity that owns and manages fitness clubs and gyms throughout the country. Specifically, the plaintiff alleged that he slipped and fell on a mat in the steam room at one of the clubs because the mat slid out from under his feet while he was getting up to leave the steam room. The plaintiff sustained likely permanent injuries to his wrist and issued a $300,000 demand.

After conducting discovery and taking depositions, Messrs. Hassell and Bassan filed a motion for summary judgment arguing that Plaintiff had failed to support his claims with expert testimony about the proper standard of care for safely maintaining a steam room. Chris and Andrew further submitted that the fitness club had neither actual nor constructive notice of the alleged condition. Plaintiff opposed the motion by citing to other mats on the market that were specifically suited for use in a steam room.

The D.C. Superior Court granted the fitness club's motion for summary judgment, agreeing with both the expert argument and lack of notice argument. Specifically, the court noted "[Defendant] contends that expert testimony is required to establish the standard of care in this case, and that it has satisfied any applicable standard of care. Because the Court agrees with the first contention, it does not reach the second." In this regard, the Court held that " expert testimony is required to establish whether a national standard exists that prohibits use in steam rooms of the kind of mats used by Sport & Health in its steam room." Regarding notice, the Court concluded that Plaintiff failed to offer any evidence disputing the fitness club's testimony that it had received no complaints about the mats in the steam room prior to the incident. Finally, the Court agreed with the the fitness club that Plaintiff's constructive notice argument was speculative and therefore insufficient to withstand summary judgment.

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