According to Recent California Appellate Opinion, Landlord Has No Legal Duty to Provide Defibrillator Device

Earlier this month, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a California personal injury case involving the question of whether a landlord of a building that rents space to a health club has a duty to ensure that the club has a defibrillator device on hand. Ultimately, the court concluded that while the operator of a health club is legally obligated to provide the defibrillator devices under a state statute, that duty does not extend to the landlord.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiffs were the surviving loved ones of a man who died of a heart attack while working out at a boxing gym. The defendant was the owner of the building where the gym was located. Following the death of their loved one, the plaintiffs filed a case against the defendant landlord. The plaintiffs claimed that the defendant was negligent in failing to ensure that the boxing gym installed defibrillator devices, as is required under Health and Safety Code section 104113.

Specifically, section 104113 requires that all “health studios” maintain defibrillator devices on hand. The statute defines a health studio as “a facility permitting the use of its facilities and equipment or access to its facilities and equipment, to individuals or groups for physical exercise, body building, reducing, figure development, fitness training, or any other similar purpose, on a membership basis.”

Prior to renting the facility to the company that ran the boxing gym, a representative of the defendant conducted a quick “bird’s eye” walkthrough to check for any leaking toilets, missing plaster, or other visual problems with the facility. No problems were noted, and the lease was signed.

The Court’s Decision

It was undisputed that the boxing gym qualified as a health studio under the statute and was therefore required to maintain defibrillator devices on hand. However, the plaintiff claimed that the defendant landlord also qualified as a health studio.

The court rejected the plaintiff’s claim, explaining that the plaintiff’s argument failed to take into account the requirements of what constitutes a health club. Specifically, the defendant did not allow for the use of any equipment on a membership basis. The court explained that the manner in which the legislature drafted the statute indicates its intent not to extend the duty to provide defibrillation devices to a landlord that had no involvement in the day-to-day business of the health studio.

Have You Been Injured in a California Gym Accident?

If you or a loved one has recently been injured while on the property of a gym, you may be entitled to monetary compensation through a California premises liability lawsuit. The dedicated California premises liability lawyers at Sharifi Firm have extensive experience representing victims in a wide range of California personal injury and wrongful death claims, including those involving slip-and-fall accidents and other premises liability claims. To learn more, call 866-422-7222 to schedule a free consultation with an attorney today.

More Blog Posts:

California Court Upholds City’s Assertion of Trail Immunity in Recent Personal Injury Case, Southern California Injury Lawyer Blog, April 5, 2018

Establishing Liability in California Premises Liability Claims, Southern California Injury Lawyer Blog, March 21, 2018

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