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Gym Owner Found Not Liable For Treadmill Accident (NY)

April 21, 2023

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New York gym and health club owners are held to the same duty of care as commercial landowners with regard to defective or dangerous conditions on their premises. In <em><a href="https://www.wcmlaw.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/04/Alcantara-v.-Blink-Fitness.pdf">Alcantara v. Blink Fitness</a></em>, the Supreme Court, New York County addressed whether a gym was negligent and responsible for an accident involving a treadmill. The plaintiff in that case was allegedly injured when she was “thrown off” a treadmill after it allegedly “sped up beyond her ability”. The gym moved for summary judgment, arguing that there was no defective or dangerous condition and that the gym lacked notice of any such condition.

The Court observed that the gym was required to affirmatively demonstrate either (1) the absence of a defective or dangerous condition or (2) that it did not launch an instrument of harm and that they lack actual or constructive notice of a dangerous or defective condition. The Court held that there was no evidence that the treadmill malfunctioned and that the plaintiff “apparently pressed a control button that caused the machine to operate at a pace that apparently exceeded her ability to safely utilize the treadmill.” The Court added that the plaintiff had previously used the machine and that this was an “obvious risk” inherent in using this specific treadmill. The Court further found that there were no records of complaints regarding the treadmill and granted the gym’s motion.

The <em>Alcantara</em> decision serves as a reminder that gym and health club owners are subject to the standard burden of proof and defenses in New York premises liability cases but may also have an “inherent risk” defense if the claim involves exercise equipment.

Please contact <a href="cmorgenstern@wcmlaw.com">Corey Morgenstern</a> with any questions.

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