Dentist Sues NYC Boot Camp For Torn ACL

personal injury lawsuit

A 58 year-old Monmouth County dentist tore her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in her first session at Pure Power Boot Camp when she was made to jump off a 10-foot wall by the gym’s owner. She has now filed a New York personal injury lawsuit in Manhattan Supreme Court against owner Laurie Brenner and Pure Power Boot Camp, known for its “no frills, hardcore” indoor obstacle course.

Stephanie Markel says she simply wanted to get into shape when she joined the NY exercise facility in September 2012 and liked the “no nonsense, yet positive” approach to fitness of Ms. Brenner and her staff.  However, the terminology used at Pure Power where the facility is a “boot camp”, the members are “recruits”, and trainers are “drill instructors” should have been daunting enough to give an out of shape middle aged woman serious pause, but Ms. Markel decided to soldier on nonetheless.

Member seeks settlement; owner says “I don’t remember you”

Ms. Markel claims in her lawsuit that she was seriously injured during her first session at Pure Power when she was forced by Ms. Brenner to perform a risky exercise– jumping off the top of a ten foot wall– despite her protests that she felt unsafe and uncomfortable knowing she was out of shape at the time.

According to her attorney, the hard landing ruptured her ACL forcing Ms. Markel into a wheelchair for several weeks. For her part, when Mr. Buzin reached out to her seeking a financial settlement for Ms. Markel’s injury, Ms. Brenner said she has no recollection whatsoever of either the incident or Ms. Markel. “I know pretty much every single one of my clients,” Brenner said. “I’ve never heard of her name.”

Ms. Brenner decided to stonewall Ms. Brenner and rejected her settlement request saying no “recruit” was ever forced to do an exercise. She also said that she closed Pure Power Boot Camp three months ago when she gave birth.

Gym waivers usually unenforceable in NY

Waivers of liability for negligence signed by a new incoming member of a gym are generally a standard and acceptable part of the membership process. They may have some teeth in other jurisdictions, but New York weekend warriors have clear protections.

The Official Review published by New York Law School says, “Despite the efforts taken by fitness studios to protect themselves from negligence claims, these types of waivers are usually unenforceable, at least in New York State.

New York’s General Obligations Law, Section 5-326 states:

“Agreements exempting…gymnasiums, places of public amusement or recreation and similar establishments from liability for negligence are void and unenforceable. Every covenant … in connection with any contract, membership application … or similar writing, entered into between the owner of any…gymnasium, place of public amusement or recreation, or similar establishment and the user of such facilities, pursuant to which such owner receives a fee for the use of such facilities, which exempts the said owner from liability for damages caused by or resulting from the negligence of the owner or their agents, servants or employees shall be deemed to be void as against public policy and wholly unenforceable.”

Based on this language, Ms. Brenner may have a difficult time continuing to delay Ms. Markel if her attorney can prove that Ms. Brenner and/or her staff was negligent in their treatment of Ms. Markel, thus resulting in her torn ACL.

The Sanders Firm: experienced NY personal injury lawyers

If you believe that you have suffered an injury at a gym or exercise facility in any of New York’s boroughs, including Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens, Manhattan, Staten Island or Long Island, as a result of negligence, willful misconduct, intentional acts, or unsafe conditions, you may be able entitled to compensation through the courts.

The Sanders Firm offers free case evaluations to help you determine the best course for legal action.  Call our offices any time, night or day at 1.800 FAIR PLAY (800.324.7752) to schedule a consultation with personal injury attorneys NY has come to trust. Resources

  1. New York Law School, The Official Review, Uncovering the Legal Soul Behind Boutique Fitness
  2., Risky Equipment-Based Gym Exercises to Modify for Prolapse