In 2008, a 4-year-old boy drowned in a Life Time Fitness swimming pool, even though there were lifeguards on duty and numerous adults nearby.

This tragic story began when the boy, Colin Holst, and his mother, Jana Holst, went to a Life Time Fitness club on June 13, 2008 to pick up the boy’s sister.  While they were at the gym, they decided to go swimming with Jennie Stafford, Deborah Stack and their children, not knowing that this decision would lead to Colin’s death. 

According to a wrongful death lawsuit filed by Jeff and Jana Holst, at approximately 5:30 PM, Colin started having difficulty swimming and was “frantically splashing in distress.”  The lawsuit claims that the lifeguards didn’t notice Colin struggling in the kiddie pool and failed to render him aid.  A patron of Life Time noticed the boy floating face down in the water.

Colin’s parents pursued a $25 million wrongful death suit against Life Time. In response, the company filed a lawsuit against Colin’s mother and her two friends, accusing them of trespassing, fraud and breach of contract. Life Time’s lawsuit claims that they did not follow the gym’s guest policy and that these three women should pay damages, court costs and other expenses relating to the lawsuits regarding Colin’s death.

These people never should have been at the Life Time Fitness pool to begin with and maybe Colin’s mother should have kept a closer eye on her son. Apparently, there is a little known provision in the membership contract that makes the member responsible for any legal costs Life Time incurs if a guest sues.

This is one of those examples were something seems like a good idea to the lawyers who drafted the provision and an even better idea when it is found by the defense lawyers. However, it is probably going to turn into a public relations nightmare for Life Time Fitness, because it appears so cold-hearted.

Here’s a warning to all fellow Life Time members – you better follow the guest rules or you may be on the receiving end of a lawsuit.


Ben Glass
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Ben Glass is a nationally recognized car accident and ERISA disability attorney in Fairfax, VA.
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