The following article was written by Cyle Kiger.
Rene Rodriguez, a 36 year old car salesman, has won his personal injury suit against L.A. Fitness International LLC. Rodriguez went for a board around the arc, when he slipped in a puddle on the floor. As a result, Rodriguez incurred around $125,000 in medical bills because three (and counting) surgeries were needed to repair his fractured right ankle.
Anyone who seeks to file a suit has a certain time period to do so, set by the statute of limitations. Eighteen months before Rodriguez’s time ran out he sold a car to an attorney, who referred Rodriguez to his eventual lawyer.
The defendants failed to provide the plaintiff safe conditions to play basketball, which resulted in a suit for negligence. L.A. Fitness allowed the floor to remain slippery, while not notifying health club members of the risk. An easier solution to the problem of the puddle on the floor would have been to clean up the spill from the leaking roof, but the janitor could not recall cleaning the water that particular morning.
The defendants’ lawyers claimed that the L.A. Fitness had no knowledge of the puddle that morning and couldn’t be held liable for Rene Rodriguez’s personal injury. The defense lawyers relied on the janitor’s testimony, but his lack of recollection caused them to turn to a witness who claimed that “you would be lucky if it was done twice a week.”
The difficulty for Rodriguez’s lawyer was that he needed to prove that the company had prior knowledge of the leak, and that the puddle was on the floor long enough that they should have cleaned the mess up.
The jury deliberated, and ultimately awarded the Average Joe $4.4 million. Rene Rodriguez will be affected for the rest of his life with an injury caused by the hardwood and negligence caused by L.A. Fitness. His doctor testified that even though Rodriguez is in his mid-30’s, he walks with a limp comparable to a 60-70 year old man. Rodriguez will no longer be able to enjoy running, playing with his children and salsa dancing.
Rene Rodriguez v. L.A. Fitness International LLC., may not be a high-profile suit, but it does show the effect negligence can have on a recreational corporation. As a side note, I would be stunned to find out that the janitor still had his job after the witness’ testimony.