Expected Rise in Class Action Lawsuits in Wake of to COVID-19
There will likely be an increase of class action lawsuit filings following the COVID-19 mandatory closures and shelter at home orders. On March 26, 2020, Plaintiff Mary Namorato brought a class action lawsuit against Town Sports International, LLC, and Town Sports International Holdings, Inc. d/b/a New York Sports Clubs (collectively “TSI”). TSI operates numerous gyms under the brands New York Sports Clubs, Boston Sports Clubs, Washington Sports Clubs and Philadelphia Sports Clubs.
Namorato claimed that TSI continues to charge its members monthly fees despite being closed due to the New York State’s order closing all non-essential businesses. Namorato asserted claims against TSI for consumer fraud in violation of New York General Business Law §349 and §624, as well as common law breach of contract. The complaint alleges that “TSI has also made it virtually impossible for members to cancel their memberships and has refused to honor many members’ cancellation requests. NYSC has a long history of refusing to honor member cancellation requests, but it is particularly reprehensible in this moment.”
Unlike many other businesses that are freezing memberships and fees amidst the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent business closures, New York Sports Club is not automatically freezing or cancelling memberships. Namorato claims that New York Sports Club ceased providing gym services or accessibility on March 16, 2020, and despite her efforts to cancel her membership, she has been unable to do so. The complaint states that TSI “breached their contracts with Plaintiff and/or the Class by refusing to allow Plaintiff and/or the Class to cancel their memberships at any time.”
It is probable that more class action lawsuits will follow this trend, as similar class actions have already been filed against 24 Hour Fitness in the Northern District of California, and LA Fitness in the Southern District of Florida.
Thanks to Emily Finnegan for her contribution to this post. Please email Heather Aquino for her contribution to this post.