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Motion for Summary Judgment Granted in Fall Case

April 1, 2024

A motion for summary judgment was granted in the San Diego County Superior Court in a negligence case. Robert M. Scherk and Matthew E. Voss of Murchison & Cumming, LLP represented the defendant.

Plaintiff Rita King, a long-time and experienced member of Club Pilates in Carlsbad, was taking a Pilates class taught by an experienced instructor whom the plaintiff liked and from whom she had taken multiple prior classes. During the class, the instructor provided the students with a number of optional exercises, including standing and balancing on a Bosu ball with the flat side up. While doing so, the plaintiff also chose to close her eyes while balancing on the Bosu, lost her balance, fell off, and fractured her wrist.

Immediately after the incident, the plaintiff apologized for disrupting the class, and stated she was surprised she fell because she had done the same maneuver in the past. She later filed suit claiming negligence on the part of Club Pilates and contended that the instructor essentially required the exercise rather than providing choices.

The plaintiff signed at least three Club Pilates membership agreements, each one containing waiver, release, and assumption of the risk language. The plaintiff claimed she could not recall signing the agreements, but she never questioned any of the contents or terms of the agreements.

The plaintiff claimed the defendant was negligent; however, the defendant argued there was no negligence as the plaintiff was free to take whatever classes she wanted to, and to do whatever she felt comfortable doing during those classes as the instructor provide choices of exercises for all class members. The court granted the defendant's summary judgment motion based on waiver and assumption of risk.