Law360 (September 17, 2020, 5:52 PM EDT) -- A Florida federal judge ruled Thursday that an LA Fitness member did not have standing to file a proposed class action suit over the gym chain's refund policy after its mid-March coronavirus shutdown because the member's dues had been fully refunded before he filed his claims.
U.S. District Judge William P. Dimitrouleas dismissed what remained of the proposed class action against LA Fitness over its alleged failure to refund dues members paid for the second half of March, when the company's gyms were closed nationwide due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The judge found that the plaintiff, Samuel Enzinna, had no standing to sue because LA Fitness fully refunded his March dues without reservation on April 27, two days before he filed his claims.
Judge Dimitrouleas rejected Enzinna's attempt to paint the refund as a rejected settlement offer, calling this argument "unavailing."
"Here, Enzinna's claimed injury itself is Fitness' alleged failure to refund his March 2020 membership fees, which he alleges were refunded to his bank account before he filed a claim," the judge said. "As such, Enzinna lacks Article III standing."
Enzinna is one of two lead plaintiffs in the suit originally filed on March 30 by LA Fitness member Kip Barnett, who alleged he should have been given a prorated refund of his March dues after LA Fitness shut down its facilities on March 16.
The company told members on March 20 that it was suspending all billing beginning on April 1 and offered to either extend membership terms for a month longer than the period of time the facility had been closed or allow a three-month membership for a friend or family member. Neither Barnett nor Enzinna accepted that offer, according to the judge's order.
LA Fitness moved to compel arbitration of Barnett's claims under the terms of his membership agreement. On April 22, one day after the company asked to compel arbitration, plaintiffs' counsel said that Enzinna intended to file claims in the lawsuit and asked for confirmation of whether LA Fitness intended to enforce any arbitration provision that might exist, according to the order.
Enzinna's March dues were refunded fully on April 27, and two days later he filed an amended complaint adding himself to the lawsuit, the order noted.
Attorneys for the parties did not respond to requests for comment Thursday.
The plaintiffs are represented by Jibrael Hindi of The Law Offices of Jibrael S. Hindi and Manuel Santiago Hiraldo of Hiraldo PA.
LA Fitness is represented by Sheldon Ansel Philp and William Dylan Fay of White & Case LLP.
The case is Barnett et al. v. Fitness International LLC, case number 0:20-cv-60658, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.
--Editing by Daniel King.
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