Did You Read That Contract?

February 10th, 2016 Hot Issues,Uncategorized

Here Is Why You Should Always Read Your Contract.

IS THE WAIVER OF LIABILITY CLAUSE ON THE BACK OF A GYM MEMBERSHIP CONTRACT VALID?

Yes, says the Pennsylvania Superior Court in a case involving a written and signed contract for a Gold’s Gym membership.  In a recent 7 to 2 en banc decision, the Pennsylvania Superior Court upheld a waiver of liability clause on the back of a Gold’s Gym membership contract that Melinda Hinkal signed without reading.  Hinkal alleged in her lawsuit that she required two surgeries to correct a ruptured disc in her neck that she suffered during a session with a personal trainer at the gym.  A Union County Court of Common Pleas Judge threw the case out in January 2014, finding that Hinkal had assumed the risk of her injury by signing the waiver language on the back page of her membership contract.  On appeal, Hinkal argued that the Gold’s Gym waiver was invalid because of its location on the back of the membership contract.  She equated it to a waiver that was printed on the back of a tubing ticket that the Superior Court rejected in a 2006 case.  However, the majority of the court found that unlike the waiver in the tubing case, the Gold’s Gym membership contract contained a clear directive not to sign until reading both sides, and a straightforward statement that the contract constituted the entire agreement between the parties.  In addition, the Gold’s Gym membership contract contained a written acknowledgement that its terms were read and accepted before using the facility, and was signed by Hinkal.

What is the message here?  The court did not alter its position in the case involving the tubing waiver, but showed that it will uphold waivers if done properly.  What is the lesson?  Read before you sign.

If you or a loved one is injured, contact your Central PA injury attorneys, Freeburn & Hamilton. Freeburn & Hamilton will evaluate your case and get you the compensation you are entitled to. Call the 7’s today.

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