Brian Shaughnessy Obtains Summary Judgment on behalf of National Physical Fitness Company

 

Brian Shaughnessy secured summary judgment on all counts  of a complaint in a case  filed by a club member against a national physical fitness company after he sustained a serious eye injury when a piece of equipment he was exercising with broke.  The club disposed of the broken piece of equipment immediately after the accident.  Plaintiff filed a three count complaint sounding in negligence, spoliation of evidence and willful and wanton conduct.  Brian and Katherine argued that their client was entitled to summary judgment under the negligence count as the Membership Agreement contained exculpatory language waiving all claims of negligence against the company. They asserted three bases summary judgment on the spoliation count:  First, that a spoliation of evidence claim is based in negligence and hence, the claim was waived by the exculpatory language in the Membership Agreement. Second, that there was no agreement, contract, statute or special circumstance that required the client to preserve the broken equipment. Third, that even if the broken equipment had been retained there was no evidence that would have allowed plaintiff to succeed against the manufacturer under a strict products or implied warranty of merchantability theory.  Finally, Brian and Katherine contended that there was no evidence that their client exhibited a reckless disregard for the safety of its members.  The court agreed and entered summary judgment for the defendant.