I admit—I am an exercise junkie. I have tried all types of at-home exercise equipment, many of which are sitting collecting dust in my garage after the next new product has come in. I have purchased many shoes for my marathon training, and I have a variety of old membership cards to various gyms. In short, the industry can do no wrong in my eyes. Imagine my surprise when I began searching for lawsuits related to such equipment. I hope that such lawsuits encourage those manufacturing exercise products to produce safer products that are supported by marketing claims.
The first lawsuit of interest involved toning shoes. Sketchers was the most well-known company in such suits, but several more have been sued. The suit mainly involved claims over its marketing, with the company alleging that the customer needs to simply walk in the shoes to gain the benefits of exercise. Other claims were that the shoes cause personal injury as the unstable nature of the shoes causes falls, strained muscles, and fractures. Another company, Reebok, settled for $25 million in a suit by the Federal Trade Commission. The company claimed wearing their toning shoes would increase muscle tone in various areas of the body, a claim that was not substantiated.
Another woman sued Cybex International when she sustained injuries on one of their exercise machines as it fell on her at work, rendering her paralyzed. A jury awarded her $66 million with most of the fault attributed to Cybex. An appeal has reduced the amount, but the company is still seeking alternative settlement arrangements.
The Sacramento Kings have filed a lawsuit over their faulty fitness equipment. Apparently an exercise ball exploded while a player was using it, causing injuries. Before purchase, the company promised the team that the ball would be able to handle the weight requirements needed for exercises from a professional athletic team. The team has filed a $4 million lawsuit against the company. This has caused other professional teams to remove equipment by the manufacturer.
As with products liability, an injured person is able to sue anyone in the supply chain of the product, from the manufacturer to the distributor. There are several theories to pursue with such a claim, including the product contained a defect, was unreasonably dangerous, or that there was an inadequate warning. Additionally, breach of warranty claims may be brought if the facts support the existence of an implied or express warranty.
This article is for general informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice. Do not rely on the above information as all cases are different and different laws apply to different cases. Consult an attorney in your area for further guidance.