United States District Court, D. Colorado
Brooke Jackson Judge
order addresses defendant's motion for summary judgment.
ECF No. 23. For the reasons below, the motion is GRANTED.
Wagner asserts a premises liability claim against the
corporation that has done business as Life Time Fitness
(“Life Time”). Compl., ECF No. 1 at
¶¶9-14. Life Time operates health and fitness clubs
throughout the United States. Def.'s Mot. Summ. J., ECF
No. 23 at ¶1. Upon becoming a member of Life Time, Mr.
Wagner signed Life Time's Member Usage Agreement
(“Agreement”), which contained both “Waiver
of Liability” and “Assumption of Risk”
provisions. Def.'s Mot. Summ. J., ECF No. 23 at
¶¶4-5. Mr. Wagner alleges that he was injured at a
Life Time facility in Westminster, Colorado when he stepped
onto a treadmill that was already in motion. Compl., ECF No.
1 at ¶7.
Court may grant summary judgment if “there is no
genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is
entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
56(a). The moving party has the burden to show that there is
an absence of evidence to support the nonmoving party's
case. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 325
(1986). The nonmoving party must “designate specific
facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.”
Id. at 324. A fact is material “if under the
substantive law it is essential to the proper disposition of
the claim.” Adler v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.,
144 F.3d 664, 670 (10th Cir. 1998) (citing Anderson v.
Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986)). A
material fact is genuine if “the evidence is such that
a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving
party.” Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248. The Court
will examine the factual record and make reasonable
inferences therefrom in the light most favorable to the
nonmoving party. Concrete Works of Colorado, Inc. v. City
& Cty. of Denver, 36 F.3d 1513, 1517 (10th Cir.
sufficiency and enforceability of an exculpatory clause is a
question of law for the court. See Jones v. Dressel,
623 P.2d 370, 375 (Colo. 1981). The Colorado Supreme Court in
Jones articulated four factors to use in determining
whether an exculpatory clause is valid: “(1) the
existence of a duty to the public; (2) the nature of the
service performed; (3) whether the contract was fairly
entered into; and (4) whether the intention of the parties is
expressed in clear and unambiguous language.”
Id. at 376.
parties agree that the first three factors are satisfied
here. And that makes sense. Embedded in the first two
Jones factors is a question of policy-namely,
whether the ubiquity and consequence of the service at issue
generates an additional duty to the public. Recreational
facilities are not essential public services and owe no
special duty to the public, and thus the first two
Jones factors are satisfied. See Espinoza v.
Arkansas Valley Adventures, LLC, 809 F.3d 1150, 1153
(10th Cir. 2016). Furthermore, the parties agree that the
contract was fairly entered into, and that the exculpatory
agreement meets the third Jones factor. However, the
parties dispute the fourth element.
must decide whether the exculpatory intention of the parties
is expressed in clear and unambiguous language in their
agreement. Here, I find that Life Time's Agreement
contains clear language indicating its intent to disclaim
liability for its negligence. ECF No. 23-2, Ex. B.
bold, underlined, and capitalized text, the Agreement states
that it is a “waiver of liability.” Id.
at 2. In boldface font, the Agreement explains that the
signer “agree[s] not to sue Life Time for, and waive,
any claims . . . for any Injuries to [him or her] . . . which
arise out of, result from, or are caused by any Ordinary
NEGLIGENCE OF LIFE TIME.” Id. The next
paragraph contains a detailed definition of negligence to
provide the user a description of what sort of liability Life
Time was disclaiming:
Negligence Claims include but are not limited to Life
Time's (1) negligent design, construction . . ., repair,
maintenance, operation, supervision, monitoring, or provision
of Life Time Premises and Services; (2) negligent failure to
warn of or remove a hazardous, unsafe, dangerous or defective
condition; (3) ...