CrossFit RRG helps John McPherson and P3 CrossFit set precedent by fighting off rhabdomyolysis lawsuit.
In September 2011, Adam Gottlieb walked into P3 CrossFit, John McPherson’s affiliate in Houston, Texas. Under the supervision of one of P3’s trainers, Gottlieb performed a free introductory workout that consisted of a 500-m row, 40 air squats, 30 sit-ups, 20 push-ups and 10 pull-ups. Gottlieb became nauseated during the session and vomited, but he finished the workout and went home.
Later that day, he was admitted to the hospital, and he was released four days later with a differential diagnosis that included “exertional rhabdomyolysis.”
Almost a year later, Gottlieb filed a lawsuit claiming McPherson of P3 CrossFit and CrossFit Inc. were guilty of gross negligence.
In many ways this is a simple story. A pair of personal-injury attorneys saw CrossFit as a ripe target, so they crafted a story of loss and hardship caused by a reckless and indifferent fitness company and its affiliate. They filed suit, the suit went to trial, and they lost.
But to anyone with a vested interest in the health of the CrossFit community, the story is much larger: This lawsuit was the first of its kind, and our anticipation of its arrival included setting up our Risk Retention Group (RRG) in 2009.
Commercial insurers might have cut costs by settling this claim rather than fighting it because they have no interest in defending the CrossFit name and program. They simply want to minimize losses, and settlements often cost less than going to trial. This approach would have set a dangerous precedent that would have opened affiliates up to attack from unscrupulous individuals who see easy money on the table.
CrossFit and the RRG were ready for the lawsuit and fought for a ruling that would preserve CrossFit’s reputation and deter additional attacks. By responding immediately and vigorously, the RRG ensured that the correct precedent was set for the future.
For more info on the CrossFit RRG, read “Rhabdo Redemption and RRG Proof of Concept,” by Dale Saran.