Class Action Lawsuit Against Equinox
Two leading plaintiffs in an Equinox Class Action lawsuit filed in February of last year claimed that Equinox illegally prevented members from canceling their gym memberships without just cause. Specifically, the plaintiffs claimed that Equinox arbitrarily banned its members from canceling their current contracts without just cause. The complainants further claimed that the fitness giant used illegal membership contracts that allowed members to automatically renew their existing contracts without just cause or notice. The plaintiffs further claimed that Equinox arbitrarily banned some members from using the gym facilities for months at a time and arbitrarily changed the rules from requiring an initial six month contract to a one year contract. Finally, the complainants claimed that Equinox arbitrarily changed its payment structure, eliminating monthly payments in some instances and increasing the interest rate on the remaining balance. The Lawsuit was ultimately settled by the courts.
Equinox Class Action Lawsuit
The complaint and answer provide extensive detail describing the circumstances of the lawsuit. The complaint names Equinox Fitness Center LLC, the owner of Equinox Fitness, as well as Mark Hyers, a former member of Equinox who remains a current member. The suit was initially filed by Lawsuit Direct, Inc., a plaintiff development firm based in Chicago, Illinois. In addition, it is represented by attorneys with the National Association of Personal Trainers (NAPTF) and The Alliance of Independent Personal Trainers (AIPTA). The complaint further names Equinox Fitness Services Corp. and Joseph Lora, a former Equinox vice president who is now the president of Equinox America, Inc.
The complaint revolves around the breach of a non-dischargeable contractual agreement between Lora and Hyers.
The contract allowed Hyers to enter into a mass tort lawsuit against Lora and other members of the gym in an effort to recoup personal injuries caused by gym members. As previously mentioned, however, the suit was eventually dismissed due to the refusal of the defendant to state a claim against Lora. The dismissal of the complaint also prevented the suit from being certified as a class action.
After the dismissal of the complaint, Equinox brought the suit against Hyers and sought damages for the injuries caused by his negligence.
The complaint further stated that Hyers failed to discharge his obligation to exercise reasonable care and recklessness in treating persons with disabilities. Equinox filed the complaint on behalf of all class members who were injured as a result of the breach of the contract. Class members were able to seek direct notice of the lawsuit from the court, through a class action settlement check. Direct notice requires that a plaintiff file a formal complaint with the court that identifies a class of individuals who have been injured as a result of the breach of the agreement.
He’s filed a motion to dismiss the complaint, claiming that Equinox failed to state a claim to obtain relief from her injuries.
On direct appeal, the Third Circuit Court of Appeal affirmed the dismissal of the complaint. Judge James A. Burger wrote the opinion of the court agreeing with the plaintiffs’ contention that the complaint “is faceless.” He opined that it was not sufficiently supported by a complaint, but that it could be sufficiently established to state a claim if the case was submitted to the jury.
The crux of Burger’s opinion, however, was that he believed there was a likelihood of certification of the class action lawsuit.
He went on to opine that it was not likely that plaintiffs would succeed on their own suits, or that they would be able to recover damages if they did succeed in their lawsuits. He likened the situation to that of an automobile accident that was blamed on the defendant but that was proven to have been caused by the negligence of another party. The plaintiff in such cases is likely to suffer future injuries caused by the same source of negligence, and the class action lawsuit thus would have little value to compensate him for past injuries. According to Burger, class members will be able to recover damages only if they can show that there has been a negligent act or an act that was intended to cause injuries caused by that negligence. Thus, if the class members succeed in their lawsuits, they would be able to recoup damages from the source of the negligence.