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Varazo v. Keiser Corp.

United States District Court, N.D. Georgia, Atlanta Division

June 12, 2018

CONSTANTINE VARAZO, Plaintiff,
v.
KEISER CORPORATION, Defendant.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          WILLIAM S. DUFFEY JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court on Defendant Keiser Corporation's (“Defendant”) Motion for Summary Judgment [36].

         I. BACKGROUND

         A. Facts

         On August 27, 2008, Constantine Varazo (“Plaintiff”) injured the tip of his ring finger while attempting to move an exercise “spin” bike manufactured by Keiser Corporation (“Defendant”). Keiser manufactured the exercise bike with two different transport mechanisms. The first mechanism involves lifting the bike and tilting it back onto its flywheel, as if moving a wheelbarrow. (Dep. of Dennis Keiser [37.3] (“Keiser Dep.”) 10:24-11:4). That mechanism is not at issue in this case. The second mechanism involves raising the front handlebars to deploy two small wheels in the middle of the bike's base beam. When the user lowers the bike, the wheels latch in place, causing the bike to balance on the wheels. This allows the user to move the bike. (Keiser Dep. at 12:3-14). The second transport mechanism was developed for LA Fitness. From 2002 through 2006, Defendant distributed to LA Fitness approximately 5, 400 bikes with this second transport mechanism. (Keiser Dep. at 57:1-6).

         At the time of his injury, Plaintiff was a club boxing instructor at LA Fitness. (Dep. of Constantine Varazo [32.1] at 22-23).[1] The boxing class met in a large exercise room where people commonly left equipment, such as exercise bikes, benches, and mats. (Id. at 40). On August 27, 2008, Plaintiff arrived early at LA Fitness to prepare the room for his class. (Id. at 31:3). An exercise bike was left in the middle of the room and Plaintiff decided to move it to an area along a wall where other bikes were arranged. (Id. at 29:25-30:2).

         When Plaintiff attempted to move the bike, the transport wheels did not drop down. Plaintiff decided to lift the bike and carry it to the wall. To do so, he bent down and placed his hand on the bike's center base beam near the small wheel mechanism. When he placed the bike back down onto the ground, the wheel mechanism swung shut, severing the tip of his ring finger. The bike did not have instructions or warnings on it stating the proper way to move the bike. (Keiser Dep. 25:9-13).

         B. Procedural History

         On November 11, 2016, Plaintiff filed his Complaint for personal injuries and damages [1]. The Complaint does not assert separate causes of action, alleging only that Defendant “placed a defective product in the stream of commerce, ” and “was negligent in the design and manufacture” of the bike. (Compl. ¶ 7-8). Plaintiff alleges that Defendant's negligence “was the proximate cause of the Plaintiff's injuries and damages.” Id.[2] The Complaint does not expressly allege a claim for “failure to warn, ” nor does the Complaint allege that Plaintiff's injury was a result of absent or inadequate warnings on the exercise bike.

         On November 28, 2016, the Court ordered Plaintiff to file an amended complaint to adequately allege the citizenship of the parties for purposes of invoking the Court's jurisdiction [3].

         On December 7, 2016, Plaintiff filed his First Amended Complaint [4]. The deficiencies in Plaintiff's original Complaint were not cured.

         On December 9, 2016, the Court again ordered Plaintiff to amend his Complaint to adequately allege the citizenship of the parties [5]. The Court stated that it “will not allow Plaintiff any further opportunities to amend.” ([5] at 4).

         On December 22, 2016, Plaintiff filed his Second Amended Complaint, this time alleging sufficient facts to support the Court's jurisdiction [7].

         On November 16, 2017, Defendant filed its Motion for Summary Judgment [36].

         On December 29, 2017, Plaintiff filed his “Supplemental Clarification of Plaintiff's Claims, ” to “clarify the Plaintiff's claim that the subject exercise machine was defective and that his injuries occurred because of the inadequacy of any warnings on the subject machine . . . and the lack of any warnings written upon the machine” to warn users of the risk of injury. ([42]).

         II. ...


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