Quote of the Day - Never look backwards or you'll fall down the stairs.
There are many kinds of liability and perhaps one you're most familiar with: negligence. Strict liability is another form of liability, and it arises when a manufacturer places a piece of equipment in the marketplace and knowing that it is to be used without inspection for defects, contains a defect that results in injury.
Courts have extended the reach of strict liability to retailer where they are part of the production and marketing of the piece of equipment. Strict liability also extends vertically down from manufacturers to others similarly involved in the vertical distribution of consumer goods, including wholesale and retail distributors who pass the product to the consumer.
So when Susan Ontiveros went to 24-hour Fitness and used a stair step machine, she thought 24-hour Fitness should be liable for her injury. Well, to put it more accurately, her personal injury lawyer thought so.
24-hour Fitness defended the case and said, "Hey, wait a minute here, we're a service provider. We're not passing the product down the line to the consumer. Our members use the equipment as a part of our overall fitness program, but we're not in the business of selling the equipment." Well, to put it more accurately would require a lot of legalese and boor you to death, so let's just leave it at that explanation.
Turns out, 24-hour Fitness was right. The Court of Appeal agreed, and granted judgment to the Fitness company, and denied Susan any recovery for her injury.
She'll just have to sue the manufacturer.