In 2021, Douglas Melamed won a summary judgment on behalf of a personal trainer and his physical fitness company by way of an exculpatory clause in a waiver and release of liability signed by the plaintiff.
As part of a health questionnaire, the plaintiff executed a section that contained a short waiver and release of liability wherein she agreed to waive and release the “trainer or instructor” from any and all claims, causes of action, suits, etc. for physical injury. After completing a set of exercises, the plaintiff was supposed to rest while the trainer moved away. Instead, she moved on to another exercise station and sustained an injury.
Summary Judgment was granted based on the fact that the waiver and release of liability was clear, unambiguous, and did not violate public policy. The Court ruled that the release was clear and unambiguous; that it pertained to the exact activity that plaintiff was doing at the time of accident; it addressed releasing the trainer for any and all claims; and that plaintiff signed the release indicating she understood it.
An appeal was taken by the plaintiff to the 3rd DCA, and after briefing and oral argument by Board Certified Appellate Counsel, Sarah Lahlou-Amine, the 3rd DCA recently issued an order affirming the summary judgment based on the nature of the exculpatory clause.