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Fitness club not automatically liable for injury sustained in a rush for dumbbells

Global Administrator

A fitness club with limited dumbbells for exercising was not responsible for a patron fracturing her wrist while participating in a "frenzy" to grab the available weights, the Ontario Superior Court ruled in an April 2011 Occupiers' Liability Act case.

Dutton Brock, in its publication E-Counsel, cited the court's judgment in Soares v. Premier Fitness Clubs, noting "occupiers are not automatically liable for any injuries suffered by persons on their premises and are not meant to be insurers of such persons."

In rendering its decision, the court noted the plaintiff was "well aware" of the rush to get available weights when there was a shortage. "It would appear that this was the usual state of affairs," the court said of the "frenzy" in its decision.
The aerobic teacher at the time of the incident did not give any oral directives on how class participants were to get the weights.
"He also stated he thought he was working with sensible people," the court decision states. "He said, 'Thought dealing with adults not children.'"

The court added the premises were "reasonably safe" and there was no evidence a similar accident had occurred at the club.
The plaintiff in the case acknowledged participating in a race to get to the weights.

She had bent down to collect a second dumbbell, she testified, when one she was carrying fell on her forearm and rolled down towards her right hand, fracturing her wrist.

She was off work for about six weeks and received some disability payments.

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