Chain of fitness clubs sued for denying access to lifetime member

Michelle Massey, East Texas Bureau Dec. 6, 2010, 7:40am

TYLER - An active-duty naval officer has filed a lawsuit against a chain of fitness clubs for allegedly refusing to honor his lifetime membership.

Brad Shaub filed suit against 24 Hour Fitness Worldwide Inc., 24 Hour Fitness USA Inc. and Forstmann, Little & Co. on Nov. 29 in the Eastern District of Texas, Tyler Division.

24 Hour Fitness operates more than 425 clubs in 16 states and has more than three million members and more than 20,000 employees, according to the complaint.

Shaub claims he purchased a lifetime membership in 1997 which would allow him access to 24 Hour Fitness gyms for the remainder of his life.

Under the agreement, he paid a lump sum of money, including a large one-time fee and pre-paid dues for the first three years of the membership. Following the first three years, lifetime members would pay annual dues to maintain their membership.

According to the lawsuit, in the early 2000's, 24 Hour Fitness began to subcategorize its facilities by creating different levels of membership. When Shaub attempted to use his lifetime membership while he was stationed in Hawaii, his access was denied and he was informed his lifetime membership was only for the most basic 24 Hour Fitness facility. He agreed to sign an "Upgrade Agreement" for a $10 monthly charge so he could enter the facility.

After 2006, the facility again created new sub-categories for its facilities, requiring lifetime members to sign agreements referred to as Special Privilege Agreements. Shaub also signed this agreement, the suit states.

The defendant is accused of breach of contract by refusing lifetime members admission to 24 Hour Fitness facilities, fraudulent misrepresentations, fraudulently inducing members into a contract, negligent misrepresentation of claims and violations of the Deceptive Trade Practices Act.

The plaintiff is seeking damages for caused by the financial harm associated with the lifetime membership contracts and additional agreements.

Shaub is represented by Jeffrey T. Embry of Hossley & Embry in Tyler. Jury trial is requested.

U.S. District Judge Leonard E. Davis is assigned to the case.

Case No. 6:10-cv-00632

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