Adam Boswell v. Young Men's Christian Association of Middle TennesseeAnnotate this Case
Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge Frank G. Clement,Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge Joseph A. Woodruff
The plaintiff, a health club member, seeks damages from the health club based on its alleged failure to protect him from sexual assaults in the locker room by another club member. The complaint alleges that the health club knew who the assailant was, and was aware that [the assailant] had engaged in such actions many times prior to assaulting the plaintiff. The health club denied liability insisting it had no prior knowledge of sexual assaults by the assailant or anyone else. It also contended the claims were barred by the exculpatory provision in its membership agreement, which released the club from liability for injuries resulting from the plaintiff s use of [the] facilities. The trial court found the exculpatory provision was unambiguous and summarily dismissed the claims. Thereafter, and while this matter was on appeal, the Tennessee Supreme Court revised the standards by which the enforceability of an exculpatory agreement should be determined. See Copeland v. Healthsouth/Methodist Rehabilitation Hospital, LP, 565 S.W.3d 260 (Tenn. 2018). We have determined that the plaintiff failed to present competent evidence that the health club knew or should have known of prior assaults by the assailant or anyone else. Because there is no genuine dispute of fact, the health club is entitled to judgment as a matter of law, and the issue regarding the enforceability of the exculpatory clause is moot. Accordingly, we affirm the grant of summary judgment, albeit on other grounds than found by the trial court, and remand with instructions to dismiss the complaint.