CrossFit is a fitness company that specializes in customized high-intensity fitness training programs. The CrossFit company was incorporated in 2000 by Gregg Glassman and his ex-wife Lauren Jenai. They opened the first CrossFit gym in Santa Cruz, California, in 2001, and it quickly became famous when the couple posted their workout regimens on the internet. Many people adopted CrossFit’s workout routines, including the police, firefighters, and even the military.
CrossFit’s strength, conditioning, and fitness programs primarily include bodyweight exercises, aerobic exercises, and Olympic weightlifting. The company has grown exponentially since 2001, with over 14,000 gym affiliates in 155 countries. Although the company does not disclose its members, an NBC News Article estimates its membership to be over 4 million people. Over the years, CrossFit has become quite controversial, and in 2020, Gregg Glassman sold the company to Eric Roza. But not before the company faced a few lawsuits and sued some institutions.
10. CrossFit v. Matrix Solutions et al. (Trademark Infringement and Breach of Contract)
On March 2019, CrossFit filed a lawsuit against Matrix Solutions LLC, Progenex Holdings LLC, The Conclave LLC, and Dagobah LLC for breach of contract and trademark infringements. The court documents by Case Text show that all these companies are Wyoming, limited liability companies that conduct their business in Utah and collectively do business under the name “Progenex.” In the lawsuit, CrossFit claimed that Progenex was in breach of contract and used CrossFit’s intellectual property and brand in a confusing way to the general public. However, in February of 2020, a United States District judge dismissed the case because CrossFit failed to prove personal Jurisdiction, which was required for the case to continue.
9. CrossFit Inc. v. The Department of Health and Human Services, HHS (Donor Transparency by the CDC and NIH Foundations)
In 2018, CrossFit filed a lawsuit against the National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC) and the National Institutes of Health(NIH) foundations for failure to share their legally mandated reports on transparency and to disclose information about donations made to the two entities. The lawsuit accused the CDC and NIH of accepting donations from companies whose products have been shown to cause, among other illnesses, type 2 diabetes, opioid addictions, and liver diseases which was an unethical practice for foundations tasked with researching and preventing diseases and public health issues. In a bid by the fitness company to expose corruption in the public health agencies, CrossFit filed a lawsuit to compel them to release emails containing information relevant to their donors.
Following the lawsuit, CDC and NIH finally released the requested documents. Per CrossFit’s website report, there was evidence proving that the foundations had received sizable donations from different companies in the food and beverage industry and some pharmaceutical companies.
8. CrossFit Inc. v. Quinnie (Intellectual Property and Trademark Infringement) – $49,704
In November 2015, CrossFit filed a lawsuit against the Total Body Recall gym and its owners, Donald Jett and Kateric Peter Quinnie, for trademark infringements. CrossFit claimed several trademark infringements in the suit, like the false designation of origin, trademark dilution, and a violation of Uniform Deceptive Practices.
In the lawsuit, CrossFit alleged that in April 2015, CrossFit found out that the defendants had been offering fitness training programs under the name “KrossFit” and sent them several letters to stop using the name as it created confusion among customers to which the defendants said that they had ceased using the KrossFit name in advertising their services. But upon further investigations, CrossFit found out that the defendants were still using the name “KrossFit 24” in several of their gyms and advertising their services. In February of 2017, a judge ruled in favor of CrossFit and awarded the fitness company $49,704.
7. Adam Gottlieb v. CrossFit Inc. (The Workout Injury that caused Rhabdomyolysis) – $80,000
In 2012, Adam Gottlieb filed a lawsuit against CrossFit and its affiliate gym, P3 CrossFit, owned by McPherson Standard LLC, for gross negligence and violations of the Deceptive Trade Practices Act, like the breach of warranty. Gottlieb claimed that he had worked with a trainer at P3 CrossFit in Houston on an intensive training session that included 500 meters on the rowing machine, 30 sit-ups, 40 air squats, ten pullups, and 20 pushups.
In between the workout session, Gottlieb had begun to feel sick and throw up, but he still completed the session. A few hours after the said workout, Gottlieb was rushed to the hospital and developed Rhabdomyolysis. Rhabdomyolysis is a potentially fatal condition that can result in disabilities and is characterized by muscle tissue damage. Adam Gottlieb had sought an $80,000 compensation reward.
According to Verdict Search, the Jury ruled in favor of CrossFit and its affiliate gym. Stating that Mr. Gottlieb had agreed to assume the risk of injuries caused by the workout when he signed a waiver. They also ruled that they did not find that either CrossFit or McPherson had engaged in any negligent, misleading, or deceptive practices that could have led to Mr. Gottlieb’s health condition.
6. Kimberly Quintana v. CrossFit Dallas LLC. (Negligence and Breach of Warranty) – $84,000
In 2010, Kimberly Quintana filed a lawsuit against CrossFit Dallas and her trainer, Troy Dodson, for negligence, breach of contract, and warranty after she suffered an injury during a CrossFit workout session. Kimberly accused her trainer of failing to sufficiently supervise her during their workout, which caused her to fall and shatter a bone in her left arm, leading her to undergo surgery and physical therapy afterward. In the lawsuit, Quintana was seeking $84,000 in damages. When Quintana joined the CrossFit program, she signed a two-page contract titled Health Assessment Waiver and Goals Worksheet. In the lawsuit, she argued against the validity of the waiver.
According to FindLaw, the court ruled in favor of CrossFit Dallas and Troy Dodson. It found that because Kimberly had signed the waiver, she had released the company and her trainer from liability in case of an injury arising from a CrossFit workout session.
5. Gianacakos v. Hudson River CrossFit (Noise Violations) – $100,000
When Richard and Stephanie Gianacakos purchased their home at 703 Clinton St. in 2016, they thought they had found a peaceful place to rest after a long day of hard work. They soon found out that that was far from the truth. The CrossFit gym in the same building kept them up at night from all the noise it was making. In 2017, the two owners filed a lawsuit against the owner of the Hudson River CrossFit gym for the continuation of a private nuisance and damages caused as a result.
The lawsuit alleged that the CrossFit gym was in breach of a contract it signed when it leased the space that prohibited it from causing a public nuisance on the property, but there were many noise ordinance complaints against the gym from 2016. At the trial, Mr. Gianacakos testified to being awakened by excessive vibrations and noise from the gym, people screaming, loud music, and thuds from dropped dumbbells.
In 2018, the court found that the music and impact noise constituted an actionable private nuisance. The plaintiffs were awarded $100,000 in punitive damages but were denied compensatory damages because they did not prove that they incurred any monetary damages. However, according to CaseText, in 2020, an appellate court in Hudson County reversed the order for the gym to pay $100,000 in punitive damages.
4. Jonas Barrish v. CrossFit, Inc. (The Spinal Injury from a CrossFit workout session) – $100,00
In 2016, Jonas Barrish sued CrossFit and its affiliate gym, Sky’s Limit CrossFit, in Kansas City. Barrish claimed he had suffered a spinal injury after an intense weightlifting workout at the Sky’s Limit CrossFit gym. He claimed to have needed emergency spinal surgery in 2012 due to his spine’s stress while trying to deadlift 350 pounds. Jonas Barrish and his attorney had filed a lawsuit seeking a $2 million compensation in September of 2016. He claimed that he had not been presented with a waiver to sign that clearly stated the risks involved with the workout. A week later, a jury returned a verdict in favor of Barrish for the amount of $400,000.
The Jury found that Mr. Barrish was 50% at fault and assigned both CrossFit Inc. and its affiliate Sky’s Limit CrossFit gym 25% of the blame, respectively. Ultimately, both companies were ordered to pay $100,000 in damages to Jonas Barrish. It was the first time CrossFit had ever lost a lawsuit related to personal injury.
3. Chloie Jonsson v. CrossFit Inc. (Discrimination against a Transgender athlete) – $2.5 Million
Chloie Jonsson, a personal trainer who is a transgender woman, wanted to compete in the 2013 CrossFit games. But after one of her teammates sent an anonymous email to the games committee asking about transgender athletes, Chloie was denied a chance to compete as a female. In 2014, Ms. Jonsson filed a lawsuit against CrossFit Inc. and sought $2.5 Million in damages. As stated by CNN, Chloie sued the fitness company for discrimination, infliction of emotional stress, and unfair competition.
Chloie Jonsson had assumed the female identity since her teenage years and had a gender reassignment procedure in 2006. She was legally recognized by the state of California as a female and had been on female hormone therapy. In the lawsuit, Ms. Jonsson’s lawyers outlined that hormone replacement therapy reduces masculine features and includes a higher estrogen dosage to increase feminine features. Despite all that, CrossFit claimed that because Ms. Chloie had been born male, she had to compete in the men’s category.
Although Ms. Jonsson lost her $2.5 million suit, she won somehow. This is because in 2018, CrossFit changed its competition policies and announced that it would let transgender athletes compete in the CrossFit games.
2. CrossFit, Inc. v. NSCA (Publishing false statements) – $4 Million
Possibly one of the most significant legal battles CrossFit has ever fought since the company began. In 2014, CrossFit sued the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) over a study published in the NSCA journal alleging that many CrossFit participants did not finish the program and that the program was linked to increased risks of injuries. The lawsuit claimed that the NSCA had published falsified data, potentially damaging CrossFit’s image and, consequently, its revenue. Initially, NSCA corrected the article but did not acknowledge any data fabrication.
As the court proceedings went on, the NSCA was discovered to have falsified the data used to publish the article and lied to the public about the risks associated with joining a CrossFit workout. The court also discovered how the NSCA has concealed and destroyed evidence and even lied to the court to cover up for themselves. They did all this by deleting data from devices relevant to the study, failing to produce said devices, failing to help identify custodians of relevant documents, and providing enough information about servers and devices containing relevant information.
According to Retraction Watch, in 2019, a California federal judge ruled in favor of CrossFit and awarded the company close to $4 million in attorney fees and issued sanctions against NSCA. In addition to the $4 million in attorney fees, CrossFit received more money in damages, although the two parties never disclosed the exact amount to the public.
1. CrossFit, Inc. v. Reebok International Ltd (Breach of Contract and Good Faith) – Estimated $4.8 Million
CrossFit filed a lawsuit against their long-time partner Reebok in 2018 for Breach of Contract and the covenant of good faith and fair dealings. According to Forbes, CrossFit claimed that during their eight-year partnership, Reebok had been dishonest and deceptive and that they owed CrossFit almost $5 million in royalties. In 2010, the two companies signed a licensing and sponsorship deal that made Reebok the official sponsor of the CrossFit games and gave Reebok the license to sell all footwear and fitness clothing bearing the CrossFit trademark.
In the deal, CrossFit was supposed to be paid royalties from the merchandise sales. Per the lawsuit, CrossFit claimed that without their knowledge, from 2013 to 2016, Reebok had recalculated CrossFit’s royalties and underpaid them. The suit also claimed that Reebok had failed to market their cross-branded merchandise as they were supposed to and that Reebok had tried to underpay them by funneling customers to the Reebok.com site instead of the store.crossfit.com site, which attracted higher royalties. In August 2016, the two log time partners finally settled their dispute. The settlement was closed to the public, and no details of the amount of money paid and the terms of the agreement were disclosed.