RENO, Nev. (CN) - California fitness chain Sky High must pay $3.7 million for falsely claiming its workers don't use trampolines, then filing an insurance claim when one broke his neck doing so.
A federal judge ordered Sky High to pay $3,485,000 with $248,127.23 in prejudgment interest. A jury ruled on Sept. 21 for insurer Companion Property and Casualty Group, of South Carolina, in its negligent misrepresentation claim against Sky High.
U.S. District Judge Howard McKibben issued the judgment on Sept. 29.
After a five-day trial, the jury assigned 60 percent of the blame to Sky High and 40 percent to Companion, ruled for Companion in its claim of bad faith and breach of contract and awarded it $8 million in damages. The court reduced the award by the 40 percent of blame attributed to Companion and another $1.3 million for setoffs.
In its 2012 lawsuit, Companion accused Sky High and its insurance brokers of lying on its worker's compensation insurance policy application by saying its workers did not use the facility's trampolines.
Sky High wrote on its application that it is a "sport and fitness facility using trampolines" but its employees "do not teach nor are they out on the trampolines," Companion said in its November 2012 complaint.
On Oct. 3, 2011, 18-year-old Jake Likich, while training to become an aerobics instructor at Sky High's Costa Mesa outlet, "was demonstrating his skills on the trampoline and attempting to do a back flip when he landed on his neck and became paralyzed," Companion said in its lawsuit.
Likich was rendered quadriplegic. He filed a worker's compensation claim, which Companion paid.
Companion attorney Martin J. Kravitz of Christian, Kravitz, Dichter, Johnson & Sluga was not available for comment Wednesday. Nor were Sky High officials.
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