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Savoia v. Fitness International, LLC

Florida Court of Appeals, Fourth District

December 18, 2019

JEFFREY SAVOIA, Appellant,
v.
FITNESS INTERNATIONAL, LLC, d/b/a LA FITNESS and JOAN VENTO, Appellees.

         Not final until disposition of timely filed motion for rehearing.

          Appeal from the Circuit Court for the Seventeenth Judicial Circuit, Broward County; Jeffrey R. Levenson, Judge; L.T. Case No. 17-3255 CACE (09).

          John H. Pelzer and Neal W. Hirschfeld of Greenspoon Marder LLP, Fort Lauderdale, and Steven M. Singer of Law Offices of Steven M. Singer, P.A., Plantation, for appellant.

          Masha Ciampittiello and Michael W. LeRoy of Fulmer LeRoy & Albee, PLLC, Orlando, for appellees.

          Ciklin, J.

         Jeffrey Savoia appeals a final summary judgment entered in favor of Fitness International, LLC, d/b/a LA Fitness, and Joan Vento (the "gym") in a personal injury action. Savoia contends that the trial court erred in entering summary judgment because issues of material fact remained pertaining to whether he was prevented from reading a comprehensive exculpatory clause contained in his contract with the gym. We agree and reverse.

         Savoia slipped and fell in the gym's bathroom and subsequently sued the gym for damages. The gym moved for summary judgment, arguing that when signing up for membership, Savoia signed a contract with an exculpatory clause that waived any such claims.

         The contract was an electronic membership agreement, which was presented to him on a computer tablet. Savoia was not shown a printed contract. In the version of the contract that was printed and placed in the record below, the contract is three pages, and the bottom of the first page indicates that it is "Page 1 of 3." Savoia's signature appears on the bottom of the first page and the exculpatory clause is in a box on the second page. There is no mention of the exculpatory clause on the first page of the contract.

         At his deposition, Savoia described the contract language as being mostly obscured by a "pop-up" space for his signature. He further testified as follows:

Q. So you just signed away without knowing, did they tell you what was in there?
A. They just said to me these are your payments, amounts, this is when your start date is. We had gone in with like four of us had done it, and I was after the fact, like, we all went there, they went there, and I came later on and signed the little tablet for them at a later date.
. . . .
Q. Did you scroll up and down on the tablet?
A. No. He just told me sign it. This is your membership, and I said, okay. So I signed it. I was thinking that my friends already read the stuff, so I ...

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