Michelle Keahey, East Texas Bureau Oct. 22, 2012, 2:56pm

SHERMAN - A class action lawsuit has been filed against a fitness club for charging monthly dues after memberships were cancelled. 

Amalia Sible, on behalf of herself and all others similarly situated, filed suit against L.A. Fitness International LLC on Oct. 17 in the Eastern District of Texas, Sherman Division.

LA Fitness is accused of attempting to extract dues from members for months after they attempt to cancel their monthly contracts and no longer wish to use the gyms.

Sible is suing on behalf of persons who are former members of the defendant who have incurred at least one additional monthly billing charge after they timely cancelled their monthly dues membership agreements with LA Fitness, or who are current member of LA Fitness who entered into monthly dues membership agreements which contain misleading cancellation provisions and who will be forced to pay dues for one or more months after they attempt to cancel their memberships.

The defendant is accused of misrepresenting to class members that the Monthly Dues Membership Agreement was a monthly contract that members can sign up for and then cancel at any time without incurring any further billing simply following the cancellation procedures.

According to the lawsuit, to cancel a membership a member must provide LA Fitness written notice on the gym's pre-printed notice of cancellation form and mail it at least 30 days prior to the next billing date.

“In order for a person to have his last month’s prepaid dues be applied to a month when he is still using the gym – and not pay an extra month of dues for a period after he has stopped using the gym – he would have to cancel at least 61 days before his desired termination date,” the lawsuit states.

Sible claims that she sent the defendant a written request for termination for her and her daughter’s membership in February. LA Fitness canceled her daughter’s membership, but billed Sible for another 14 months of membership and allegedly refused to refund the fees.

The defendant is accused of breaching its monthly contract, and for engaging in unfair and deceptive practices.

LA Fitness is also accused of violations of the Texas Health Spa Act and the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices-Consumer Protection Act.

The plaintiff is asking the court for a cease and desist order to stop L.A. Fitness for continuing these procedures and for an award of compensatory damages, consequential damages, treble damages, punitive damages, litigation costs, attorney’s fees and interest.

Sible is represented by John E. Collins of Burleson, Pate & Gibson in Dallas and Sherrie R. Savett, Michael T. Fantini and Eric Lechtzin of Berger & Montague P.C. in Philadelphia, Penn. A jury trial is requested.

U.S. District Judge Richard A. Schell is assigned to the case.

Case No. 4:12-cv-00660

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