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Fitness Center Vindicated

A recent article, "Working Out the Risks" (Best's Review, May 2000), discussed the potential liability of health and fitness facilities for deficient emergency responses toward their members or patrons. One of the court cases discussed in the article, Chai vs. Sports & Fitness Clubs of America, was then pending in the Broward County Circuit Court, Florida. The plaintiffs contended, in this case, that the sports facility was negligent because it did not have an automated external defibrillator available on the premises to respond to the plaintiff's cardiac problem, which occurred while he was working out at the facility. He was subsequently left in a physical and mental state requiring near-constant care.

A jury returned a verdict in favor of the defense on June 31. However, because of a pre-verdict, high-low agreement between the plaintiffs and the defense, the plaintiffs received $2.25 million, even though the jury found in the defendant's favor. Pursuant to the agreement, if the jury had returned a verdict in favor of the plaintiffs, no more than $7 million would have been awarded to the plaintiffs, had they prevailed.

It is also interesting to note that those health and fitness facilities that proclaim to offer "cutting edge" services, such as "the best, most technologically advanced services," may need to seriously consider securing such devices if they are to live up to their advertising promises. If they say they offer "cutting edge" technology and do not deliver in the event of need, then there may be a question as to whether they meet the standard of care that they, at least in part, created or fostered through their advertising claims. If they simply have individuals present or scheduled who are trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation, but they have no automated external defibrillator available for use, the question arises if this will be considered "technologically advanced service." One wonders if such matters may lead to the filing of numerous suits against health and fitness facilities in what has been called a potential "litigation frenzy" in the Comment column of this publication (July 2000). We shall see!

David L. Herbert

Senior Partner

Herbert & Benson

Canton, Ohio

Statistical Agent Responds

In your article "A New Perspective" (Best's Review, September 2000), you cite National Independent Statistical Service (NISS) as a statistical agent in the fifth paragraph but offer no description of our organization as you go on to do for the American Association of Insurance Services and the National Association of Independent Insurers.

If you had contacted me for some background, I would have told you that for NISS, this is our 41st year, we have more than 130 insurers that report data to us and that includes the third-largest auto and homeowners writer--Farmers Insurance Group. Statistical agent services are all we offer, and we think we're the best!

David H. Conrad


National Independent Statistical


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Article Details
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Publication:Best's Review
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Dec 1, 2000
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