As the average American waistline continues to climb, the fitness industry continues to reap the monetary benefits. From digital calorie keepers to new types of workout regimes, those looking to lose weight will try just about anything. Unfortunately, they will do so even if they aren’t in shape for it, or it is hazardous to their health.
A new fad is sweeping across the nation by the name of Crossfit. It is a company that uses circuit training type exercise, and some would allege, extreme methods, to burn calories and to get clients into shape.
Many other organizations and health industry companies have claimed that the physical exertion that Crossfit uses is excessive and can come at a risk to clients. But, to-date the company has only had to defend its practices in court, twice, for personal injury lawsuits.
The most recent case is one in Houston where a plaintiff accused the company of subjecting them to “extreme risk” without properly warning them of the dangers. Among those allegations were that Crossfit uses poorly designed workout regimens and that they are indifferent to the health of those they work with. The case in Houston ended with the exoneration of Crossfit and any responsibility that they had to the plaintiff’s alleged injuries.
It isn’t that Crossfit hasn’t had its fair share of scrutiny or disgruntled or hurt participants, it is just that they are very careful in their defense. The company believes they maintain a high level of safety and education both to instructors and participants in their program.
Crossfit didn’t get as lucky in the recent case in Missouri. In 2012, Jonas Barrish, a Crossfit member maintains that he showed up late for one of the classes. The coach, who was in charge, instructed him to perform a modified deadlift using 165 pounds. Since he was behind the rest of the class, the coach asked him to perform it with modifications because he would be without support and attention.
Mr. Barrish had been a part of the Crossfit program for five months and decided to go against what the instructor asked and attempted to do a 1-rep max on the deadlift. Without consulting the coach, he then proceeded to deadlift a personal best, alone and unsupervised, of 300 pounds. When the coach asked him to put the weights away for the day and take a rest, Barrish again ignored him. Instead, he chose to put the weight to 350 pounds. While performing the additional deadlift, he injured his back.
After injuring himself, Barrish filed suit against Crossfit Inc. and the affiliate, for pain, suffering, and future pain and economic damages that would result from his injury. His claim was more than two million dollars. Barrish made allegations that the affiliate club under the Crossfit, Inc. corporation, had failed to properly train and instruct him on how to do a deadlift. He then went on to insist that his coach had “encouraged” him to put more weight on the dumbbells and try for the 350-pound increase.
Both of the claims that Barrish made against the corporation were found false. Being observed by other participants in the class, it was found that his allegations were erroneous. Both claims were in contradiction to what those who witnessed, testified to. Finally, Barrish claimed that Crossfit, Inc. was negligent for even including a deadlift in their format.
He insisted that the affiliate clubs were never trained to properly execute a deadlift, which has a high risk for injury. The problem with his case is that he was the only one who was making that opinion. Others in the class insisted that they were taught proper mechanics and were always supervised. They were also never encouraged to perform excessive weight lifting.
A personal injury lawyer woodland hills, wonders why did the courts find in the favor of the plaintiff in this case? Crossfit was found to be 25% responsible for Barrish’s injuries. In a case of poor judgment, scholars who have reviewed the case insist that it should have been an open and shut one that was thrown out and where Crossfit was found innocent. Many insist that it was the poor ruling of a judge who has a track record of mishandling cases. After review, it is not the first time that Judge Torrence, the presiding judge in the Missouri case, has been accused of making poor decisions.
Those are the problems and the hazards of any personal injury case resulting from both jury misunderstanding, and poor instructions from a judge that doesn’t adhere to legalities. A knock to the Crossfit organization, there is still not coherent proof that they were liable for any damages sustained to Mr. Barrish and likely should have been exonerated.