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Honeycutt v. Meridian Sports Club, LLC

California Court of Appeals, Second District, Fifth Division

October 21, 2014

TANYA HONEYCUTT, Plaintiff and Appellant,
v.
MERIDIAN SPORTS CLUB, LLC, Defendant and Respondent.

APPEAL from the judgment of the Superior Court of Los Angeles, No. LC095176 Huey P. Cotton, Judge.

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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COUNSEL

Zukor and Nelson, Marilyn H. Nelson, and Abram Charles Zukor, for Plaintiff and Appellant.

Manning & Kass, Ellrod, Ramirez, Trester, Anthony J. Ellrod, and Ladell Hulet Muhlestein, for Defendant and Respondent.

OPINION

KRIEGLER, J.

Plaintiff and appellant Tonya Honeycutt suffered a knee injury during a kickboxing class, while being assisted by an instructor at defendant and respondent Meridian Sports Club, LLC, doing business as Meridian’s Bodies in Motion (Meridian). The trial court granted Meridian’s motion for summary judgment, ruling that Honeycutt had signed a valid waiver of liability, Meridian did not act with gross negligence, and the doctrine of primary assumption of the risk barred relief. In her appeal, Honeycutt argues there are triable issues of material facts regarding whether the instructor’s conduct (1) increased the risk inherent in kick boxing and (2) constituted gross negligence. We affirm.

PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Honeycutt filed a form complaint against Meridian alleging personal injury caused by negligence and gross negligence. Honeycutt alleged she was a guest at Meridian on June 28, 2011. She had never participated in kickboxing, but decided to attend a kickboxing class. The class instructor negligently manipulated Honeycutt causing her knee to snap, resulting in severe physical injury requiring surgery. The instructor’s conduct constituted gross negligence.

Meridian filed a motion for summary judgment, which the trial court denied. Meridian filed a petition for writ of mandate with this court. This court issued an alternative writ of mandate, directing the trial court to either reverse its order denying summary judgment and enter a new order granting the motion, or to show cause before this court why the relief should not be

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granted. The trial court complied with the alternative writ and entered summary judgment and judgment for Meridian. This timely appeal followed.

THE MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

Meridian moved for summary judgment on four grounds. First, the cause of action for negligence was barred by a release of liability signed by Honeycutt. Second, the negligence cause of action was barred because Honeycutt executed an express assumption of the risk. Third, the doctrine of primary assumption of the risk barred the negligence claim. Fourth, the cause of action for gross negligence failed because Meridian’s actions did not constitute gross negligence as a matter of law.

Honeycutt opposed summary judgment, first arguing the release relied upon in the motion for summary judgment is illegible. She further contended there is a triable issue of fact regarding whether Meridian’s instructor increased the inherent risk in kickboxing and therefore the doctrine of primary assumption of the risk does not apply. She further argued that the ...


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