Judge Enters Summary Judgment In Favor of Defense in Personal-Injury Suit Against Fitness Club
Case Study

Judge Enters Summary Judgment In Favor of Defense in Personal-Injury Suit Against Fitness Club

November 14, 2019

A four-day difference between the actual date of injury and the date claimed in her complaint resulted in summary judgment for the defense in Cook County, Illinois. The case was brought for injuries sustained when a female patron claimed injuries for a slip and fall near a fitness club pool. The discrepancy between the date in the complaint and the actual incident date resulted in the court entering judgment for the defense, likely saving the club tens of thousands of dollars.

The November 5, 2019, ruling was a hard-fought victory for defense attorney James M. Rozak, a Chicago-based Goldberg Segalla partner and member of the firm’s General Liability practice group. The plaintiff alleged that in July 2015 she exacerbated a pre-existing spinal injury when slipping on a cleaning agent used near the swimming pool. In support of her claim, the plaintiff had taken post-injury photographs showing a custodian pouring soapy liquid on the floor. The court denied the initial motion to dismiss the pleading brought by the defense, by allowing discovery to proceed despite the applicability of the exculpatory clause in the membership agreement.

The defense served discovery upon the plaintiff wherein she admitted that her injury occurred on July 25, the date also set forth in the pleading. However, the plaintiff’s judicial admission of the date of the injury conflicted with the incident report and initial treatment date of July 21. The defense filed a motion for summary judgment supported by an affidavit proving that the plaintiff had not even checked into the club on July 25. In granting the defense motion, the judge agreed that plaintiff would never be able to prove a lawsuit for an incident on July 25 due to the judicial admission and lack of evidence. Discovery of the discrepancy and legal arguments of the defense, turned this difficult case around for the client.

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