EXPERT WITNESS FITNESS _Moriarty, Paetzold & Sherwood Expert Witness Fitness

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“In 2015, I employed Dave Parise as an expert witness and fitness consultant in a treadmill injury case arising at a family fitness center.  Mr. Parise’s knowledge and expertise of the industry standards applicable to such facilities was invaluable in preparing the case for trial.  His deposition testimony was instrumental in helping us reach a very favorable settlement for my client.  He was well-prepared and thoroughly familiar with the facts and applicable standards that supported our client’s claims.  I have heartily recommended and will continue to recommend Dave as an expert consultant and witness to any members of our bar who handle personal injury cases arising from the claimed negligence of health fitness facilities.”


Thomas P. Moriarty

Moriarty, Paetzold & Sherwood

2230 Main Street

Glastonbury, CT  06033

Tel. (860) 657-1010

Fax (860) 657-1011



EXPERT WITNESS FITNESS_Doroshow, Pasquale, Krawitz & Bhaya, Wilmington, Delaware

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I am glad I found Dave Parise. Mr. Parise is an expert witness in sports, gym, fitness, and recreational injuries.  After speaking with Mr. Dave Parise the first time, I knew he was the man for the job.   Not only did Dave exhibit the knowledge in the industry, he immediately sought out additional resources both locally and beyond to obtain support for his opinions.  My firm will be sure to use him on future fitness-related cases.  –Matthew Fogg, Esq.- Doroshow, Pasquale, Krawitz & Bhaya, Wilmington, Delaware

Expert Witness Fitness / Dave Parise CV Accolades, Awards.

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90-3 Cosey Beach Ave.

East Haven, CT 06512

(203) 675-5575


Fitness Facility Consultant: For the past twenty-seven years (1992-2019), I have utilized my experience as a fitness facility owner and operator, my professional personal training experience, and my education, to provide consulting services to owners and managers fitness facilities throughout the United States regarding all aspects of ownership, management and supervision of fitness facilities, including safety protocols and standards, design of work out areas, and spacing of exercise equipment. As part of my training and continuing education as a personal trainer, I have gained education and training to ensure that the area where exercise is performed is safe for exercise and that no accidents or injuries will occur due to an unsafe environment. Therefore, as a Certified Personal Trainer, I have extensive knowledge, training and education regarding ensuring that a safe environment and area during exercise activities is maintained in order to prevent accidents and injuries.

Expert Witness Fitness: (2012-Present) Expert witness for court proceedings involving fitness facility safety.  

Results Plus Personal Training Center: Hamden, CT, Founder, Owner and Operator of fitness facility (1986-2018). Handled all aspects of ownership, operation and management of the facility and its staff.  

As the owner and operator of a fitness facility, I gained experience by doing the following:

  • Establishing and maintaining proper safety protocols and standards to protect members of my fitness facility from accidents and injuries.
  • Establishing and maintaining a safe environment to exercise for members of my fitness facility.
  • Hiring, managing and supervising staff, including personal trainers and cleaning staff.
  • Personal training and fitness education.

Fix My Fitness Club FMFC LLC, Owner (2018-Present).  Analyze current fitness devices that create faulty movement patterns in the human body in order to develop, manufacture and distribute a new device that accomplishes the same goal without the added risk.  Filed for United States patent and trademark. I currently work with over nine international distributors to help create a better environment for coaches and trainers worldwide to train their clients to avoid harm.


Certified Personal Trainer (CPT)

Fit-Pro’s Personal Training School (FPTS), Fit-Pro’s Academy, National Education Provider License #540; served as President and Director of Education for Fit-Pro’s Academy

National Academy of Sports Medicine – American Council of Exercise, Certified Strength and Conditioning Coach

Dean College, 1982, Exercise Science and Human Performance


The International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA)  is a trade association that helps health club owners and operators build and run fitness facilities.  It also serves the global health club and fitness industry by helping to grow, protect and promote the health and fitness industry.  

  • Gained knowledge and education regarding maintaining fitness facility safety and preventing accidents and injuries during exercise.
  • Active member and participant in annual international conventions.
  • Attended workshops.
  • Served as a Presenter.

IDEA Health & Fitness Association:  IDEA Health & Fitness Association communicates with fitness professionals in over 80 countries and is one of the most respected in education and workshops for fitness professionals worldwide.  

  • Attended IDEA Health & Fitness Association hands-on workshops and conferences over fifteen years.
  • Attended IDEA World Fitness Convention
  • Attended IDEA Personal Trainer Institute
  • Author for IDEA Personal Trainers Industry journal
  • Golf Digest, IDEA Personal Trainer Journal – two front covers
  • Featured as Top 15 industry professionals in IDEA worldwide personal trainer journal
  • Named as Top 15 by IDEA President Kathie Davis
  • Flew staff to California for the World Convention; became featured in the world wide personal trainer journal
  • Gained knowledge and education regarding ensuring and maintaining a safe environment and area to conduct personal training exercises to prevent accidents and injuries.

Perform Better Functional Training Institute:  The Perform Better Functional Training Institute in West Warwick, Rhode Island offers cutting edge education for coaches, trainers, and rehab specialists with various seminars throughout the year.

  • Attended workshops.

National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM)

  • Certified at Massachusetts Institute of Technology hands on training summit, along with 3-1 ratio teacher/student.
  • Attended national workshops, all hands on learning by doing.
  • Hired two top NASM presenters in 2000 to present my staff with a private four hour hands-on workshop
  • National Academic Partner for NASM to give educational credits for those students attending Dave Parise’s  hands-on personal training school/workshops.
  • Academic approved provider for NASM
  • Gained knowledge and education regarding ensuring and maintaining a safe environment and area to conduct personal training exercises to prevent accidents and injuries.

National Federation of Personal trainers (NFPT)

  • Selected by director of EDU to partner with organization to Be There Academic Partner to continue education for trainers worldwide through hands-on lesson plans.
  • Academic approved provider for NFPT.

Receive Continuing Education through the following:


Inducted into the National Fitness Hall of Fame in 2012.

Designated one of the Top 100 Personal Trainers in America in 2012.

Distinguished Alumni Award – In 2017, I was awarded the Hamden High School Distinguished Alumni Award (1978 graduate) by the Hamden Education Foundation as recognition for my achievements and accomplishments in the fitness industry.  The Hamden Education Foundation is a community organization dedicated to enriching the tradition of excellence in the Hamden Public Schools and seeks to form a bond between community members who care deeply about our students and the educators dedicated to teaching them.

Created lesson plans for personal trainers worldwide in proper training techniques and supervision. 

Created over 1000 exercise videos on the How To’s and Why Not’s of exercise programming.

Own and operate an online, and in-person educational school for personal trainers.

Selected as one of the Top 15 industry leaders from the US and Canada by the Association of Fitness Professionals / IDEA 

Published in or featured in articles: The Huffington Post, The New York Times, Golf Digest (front cover), Connecticut Magazine, Status Connecticut, World Traveler, Men’s Fitness, Men’s Health, IDEA Personal Trainer magazine, Blogger Huff Post, Better Health Magazine, Personal Trainer Magazine, World Traveler magazine.  In May 2015, I was invited by Arianna Huffington herself to blog on their Huffington Post Healthy Living section.

Spotlighted on WTNH-TV News 8 for three years – Fitness Fridays with Dave Parise.

Fox Network’s “Dave Parise’s Corporate Health Tip of the week”

Wake up your Workout with Dave Parise on WTNH.

Wrote “Certified vs Qualified” and “Anatomical Profitability.” The art of prospecting for Fitness Professionals. 

Paragraph version of CV

Dave Parise, Expert Witness in Fitness, and Gym Injuries.

Dave Parise CPT FPTA, is an expert in the field of Gym, Fitness center operations, personal training, and fitness education. Mr. Parise offers his expert opinion for defense firms regarding toxic tort litigation, insurance defense, as well as the rights of the plaintiff and discovery of causation. Mr. Parise is currently President and Director of Education for Fit Pros Academy, a personal training school since 1999.  He is currently a consultant / founder and past President of Results Plus Personal Training Center since 1986-2018.   Additionally, Mr. Parise is an Academic Approved Provider for the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) and the National Federation of Personal Trainers (NFPT) under license provider number 540. Dave Parise was presented The Hamden High School Distinguished Alumni Award on May 16th 2017, by the Hamden Education Foundation.  Additionally, Mr. Parise attended Dean College where he graduated with an Associate’s Degree in 1982 and studied exercise science, human performance and communication arts.  Over the past thirty years, Parise has studied, applied and currently teaches exercise science concentrating on bio-mechanics, joint relationships and safety standards encompassed with the analysis of exercise and movement, as well as the equipment used in physical training facilities.  Mr. Parise has also continued education through the IDEA Health and Fitness Association, the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association, IHRSA, Perform better Functional Training workshops, National Academy of Sports Medicine, and the National Foundation of Personal Trainers. Mr. Parise concentrates in teaching and developing safe and effective ways to maintain safe application to the human body while exercising. Mr. Parise has been inducted into the National Fitness Hall of Fame in 2012, and was designated one of the Top 100 Personal Trainers in America in 2012. In addition to being selected as one of the most influential personal trainers of all time in 2012. #69 out of 100. Parise has created lesson plans for personal trainers worldwide in proper  training techniques, and supervision.  Parise has created over 1000 exercise videos on the How to’s and why not’s of exercise programming. 

It is Mr. Parise’s opinion within a reasonable degree of personal training certainty that he is well informed of all proper, customary and applicable personal training facility/industry standards, and guidelines.  Parise states accepted practice mandates pre-activity screening(s) including an exercise readiness plan, with formal reporting done prior to any hands on training. Parise notes screening is to take place prior to any individualized prescription, hands on assessment(s), workout regimen or recommendations for any initial participant in sports, or fitness.  Screening requires the use of a formal questionnaire along with medical history specific to any red flags, orthopedic concerns, and any other relevant specific information prior to touching or hands on assessment. Mr. Parise states “you must  provide a competent, certified and/or qualified personal trainer in order to “personally train”  at said facility, and in fact, those who titled herself/ himself a “Certified Personal Trainer” sometimes fail to have any required skill, or experience that justifies certificates or certifications pertaining to personal training.  Further Mr. Parise will explain there are various programs where it is possible to purchase various titles relating to personal training, or sports coaching without actually receiving any adequate, competent, or proper training that is necessary to perform personal training, guidance, instruction, and/or assessment as a Certified Personal Trainer.

In this regard, Mr. Parise understands proper validation. Many credentials as a personal trainer are improper, without merit and do not certify anyone as a personal trainer. Many fitness trainers fail to properly receive certification and/or continue any education in order to qualify themselves to physically touch, assess and/or perform any hands-on training, or group training.   The American College of Sports Medicine, The American Council on Exercise and/or The National Strength and Conditioning Association which involve, and require more stringent testing policies. Mr. Parise states that working out or being in shape has no relevance to a qualified/certified professional.

Parise states that there is  a lack of safety, standard of care, and/or any other necessary programs or policies in effect at some facilities. The lack of these policies gave rise to this very unfortunate occurrence of harm that occur. On the other side- an overzealous member who uses equipment against the manufacturer’s suggestion, or trainers recommendation can cause an injury to themselves or another member.   This lack of proper training, monitoring, instruction, supervision and advice will lead to dangerous and unsuitable activity. It is simple to ensure proper safety protocol to avoid the occurrence of injuries. Parise says it’s a simple one day assessment to avoid future claims.

Dave Parise’s expert opinions are based upon his expert’s knowledge, 32- years owning a fitness center, training, independent studies, and experience in the fields of personal training, and physical fitness , including his knowledge of anatomy of the human body. In addition to Parise’s education, post-graduate training, practice, experience, and other acolaids related to said field, he owns and operates an online, and in person educational school for personal trainers, as well as a private 5000 sq ft facility with over 200 employees over the past 32 years.

Dave Parise CPT FPTA

Expert Witness Fitness – Parise’s Cont. Education

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Graduating class of 1978 Hamden High School

Dean Jr. College 2 year accelerated course – Exercise Science, human performance, communicational arts.

Continuing education in the fitness industry:

IDEA Health & Fitness Association -Attended over 8 hands on workshops, and conferences in 15 years.

  • IDEA Health & Fitness Association communicates with fitness professionals in over 80 countries.
  • The most respected education and workshops for fitness professionals worldwide.

IDEA World Fitness Convention™

IDEA Personal Trainer Institute™

Wrote for IDEA Personal Trainers Industry journal

Published 5 articles in trade journals, was featured in 4.

2- Front covers Gold Digest, IDEA Personal Trainer Journal.

Featured as Top 15 industry professionals in IDEA worldwide personal trainer journal.

Received letter from President Kathie Davis, IDEA confirming Top 15

Flew a staff of 10 to California for the World Convention 4- days, became featured in the world wide personal trainer journal.

IHRSA -Annual International Conventions

Attended 4 annual hands on workshops, and was a presenter at the TRX both with the head of program development.

The International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association — is the trade association serving the global health club and fitness industry. The mission of IHRSA is to grow, protect and promote the health and fitness industry.

Perform Better Functional training workshops-

The Perform Better Functional Training Institute in West Warwick, Rhode Island offers cutting edge education for coaches, trainers, and rehab specialists with various seminars throughout the year.

Attended 6  3- day hands on workshops

National Academy of Sports Medicine NASM

Became Certified at MIT hands on training summit, along with 3-1 ratio teacher/ student

Attended 5 national workshops, all hands on learn by doing

Hired 2 Top NASM presenters in 2000 to present my staff of 10 a private 4 hour hands on workshop on location Hamden CT.

Became a National Academic Partner for the National Academy of Sports Medicine to give educational credits for those students attending Dave Parise’s  hands on personal training school / workshops. Fit-Pros Academy. #540

National Federation of Personal trainers. NFPT

Was chosen by director of EDU to partner with organization to Be there Academic Partner to continue education for trainers worldwide through hands on lesson plans. N.F.P.T.











Expert Witness Dave Parise Waiver of liability

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Release forms or liability agreements are used by a variety of sports related / fitness, gym facilities in an attempt to limit (or release altogether) the if a customer is injured on the premises, or as a result of the business’s services. In some contexts, a release agreement will use language to indicate that the person signing the agreement has “assumed the risk” of being injured.

Or let’s say you are participating in a biggest loser challenge at your local gym. The club may have you sign a”harmless clause” in its contract to prevent you from suing if they are injured in the training program. Essentially, this clause would require the member to accept all risks associated with the activity, including the risks of injury or death.

When it comes to liability for a fitness injury, release forms can significantly alter the legal relationship between a member and a business. Generally speaking, however, most states do not enforce releases. Some do like Florida, however there are many ways to overcome this ruling.

Release Form Language to be Avoided

A release is essentially a contract that attempts to excuse a business, for injuries to a person that arise out of the foreseeable and unenforceable risks in an activity. In order to make sure your gym or fitness center is legally protected, you’ll need a well-drafted document. I personally have seen over 100 in the last 30 years, most fall short of being well drafted.

Here are some common pitfalls that should be avoided:

  • Avoid unclear or ambiguous language. Legal jargon should be avoided whenever possible.
  • Avoid small print. Make sure the contractual language is large and easy to read.
  • Avoid commingling your release on the same page with another release form.

Release Form Enforceable

There are more subtle legal issues though, when it comes to whether or not a release will be enforced. A minor usually cannot legally release his or her rights. Only the minor’s parent or guardian can do so. So, a release signed only by the minor is not enforceable. In addition, the release must be signed before any injury has occurred. A fitness center that allows a customer to sign a release “later” may be unpleasantly surprised when an injury occurs before the member ever gets around to signing the release.

Release Form Concerns

Many businesses use “fill in the blanks” forms for their releases. It is important that the blanks are filled in before the release is signed. Filling in the blanks later adds material terms to the release that the signor can claim he or she did not agree to at the time the release was signed.

Another important concern is keeping the release where it can be located later. If a customer signs a release but does not sue for injuries until years later, the release is only useful if it can be produced for the court. If the release has been lost, the entente may face liability that could have been avoided.

As an expert witness I have done my own independent investigations regarding release, and or waiver forms. I have found many ways, specific to circumstances to override the state law, based on solid evidence, and causation.

If you need an expert witness in the fitness industry, I will consult with you, your firm for free at 203-675-557

Dave Parise CPT FPTA


Expert Witness Fitness -What Professional Say ABOUT

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What Industry Professionals Are Saying about Expert Witness Fitness Dave Parise CPT, FPTA

Nick Tumminello Owner of Performance University International 

I am writing this in behalf of Dave Parise

As a Coach/Trainer, I associate with a select group of educators, and coaches. I am the owner of Performance University International, which provides hybrid strength training & conditioning for athletes and professional educational programs for fitness professionals all over the world. There are a select few professionals who have impressed me along my career. Dave Parise from CT. is one of the best in my eyes. Mr. Parise is more than an educator, he is innovative, with the ability to provide hands on “Optimal application” solutions for fitness professionals, and athletes. He has the ability to breakdown today’s questionable/ common exercise practices, and teach safer, more biomechanically sound techniques based on principles of joint function. Anyone, from a professional athlete to a fitness enthusiast would do very well to train, and learn under the guidance from Dave Parise.

Steve Cotter, Director,
International Kettlebell and Fitness Federation (IKFF):
“I am pleased to endorse  Dave Parise for his Personal Training course at Results Plus in Hamden CT.. Dave is a highly qualified and brings a great deal of practical expertise to the art of teaching kettlebells and physical training. He will show you exactly what you need to do, and will make sure that you are dong it exactly right. For 25 years, Dave Parise has been on the cutting edge, experienced, and is truly in the forefront of the competition!”

 Peter and Kathie Davis, Co-Founders,
IDEA Health & Fitness Association:
“IDEA Health & Fitness Association the world’s leading membership organization of health and fitness professionals with nearly 20,000 members in more than 80 countries, highlights Dave Parise of Results Plus and Fit-Pro’s Personal Training School in Hamden, CT. For the past 27 years, Dave Parise has mixed attention to detail with an obsessive focus on nurturing and pampering to keep his business fresh and his clients motivated. On the cutting edge, and out-of-the-box attitude gave Dave Parise a spot light in the winner’s circle! Dave Parise has been voted one of the counties premier personal trainers by numerous publications.”

 Douglas S. Brooks, MS, Exercise Physiologist,
Moves International Fitness:
“Dave Parise is an accomplished teacher and an outstanding educator. His creative and leading edge training methodologies greatly influence how professionals teach and coach their clients/athletes. Dave is on the front edge of the functional training frontier and truly knows how to bridge this new information into practical, useable application. Dave continues to build on his twenty-two years of training and education. His body of work represents a major contribution to the fitness industry!”

 Sandy Todd Webster, Editor in Chief, IDEA Publications:
“Dave Parise of Fit-Pro’s Personal Training School and Results Plus has been an IDEA Health & Fitness Association member for over 29 years. He has assisted us as an editorial resource on many occasions and has always represented the industry at large in a very positive light. He has been generous with his time and has done many good things for his community and for the industry in general. I recommend him as an educator, and a provider.”

 Chris Poirier, General Manager, Perform Better:
“As General Manager of Perform Better Functional Training equipment, I cannot express how happy I am with the knowledge that Fit-Pros Personal Training School has to offer. Dave Parise is a ‘top notch trainer” One thing that stands out the most to employers, fitness directors, and certified trainers is fit-pros ability to help the trainer increase revenue streams by motivating the staff. This increase benefits the trainer as well as the club. Dave has taken common perception to a new level of functional fitness. I recommend there course to anyone who no longer want to be a common trainer. Get ready for an eye opening experience!”

 Fraser Quelch, Director of Training & Development, Fitness Anywhere, Inc.:
“Dave Parise from Results Plus and Fit-Pros Academy has been an avid supporter of our company, Fitness Anywhere and our TRX Suspension Training program for some time. Recently, I had the opportunity to work with Dave at a major conference in New York City. Dave volunteered to assist me with a number of my presentations at the ECA Fitness convention. I was highly impressed by his ability to be thrown into a series of unfamiliar sessions and provide outstanding education with minimal preparation. I feel that Dave is an outstanding teacher and educator with a profound knowledge of human function. I would recommend anyone who wanted to excel in the personal training industry to work closely with Dave and tap into his wealth of knowledge.”

Expert Witness Fitness / Negligent trainers?

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There are many safe alternatives to accomplishing the same goal.


Most often fitness trainers, personal trainers, coaches will base their selection on personal experience. Many trainers get a weekend, open book certification. The certification may not be accredited, or recognized. Moreover if it was accredited, the test to become certified has no application in regards to hands on abilities. Some trainers have great book knowledge. Others have no certification, and are excellent trainers. However there is no room for negligent, overzealous trainers on my watch.

Some gyms and fitness centers, do not have proper signage. They fail to do pre-activity screening, health history, skip the medical past histories on said members to name a few. Most facilities obstruct walkways, have improper spacing between equipment which increase liability tremendously. A simple walk through can avoid a major injury to a member. Some facilities are over crowded at peak times, this too is a liability, especially in group training classes. Did you know there is a set number of people in a square yard. That number at arms length is 1 person. Most group class injuries result from improper spacing, faulty equipment, and lack of supervision. There also are many cases, claims that the causation is strictly on the member. Some members choose to do crazy exercises with too much load / resistance. They disregard all rules and common sense, and claim the injury self inflicted.




Lets hope we don’t meet any trainers, or gyms who disregard the health fitness standards and guidelines.

Dave Parise CPT FPTA


Expert Witness Fitness and Gym & Fitness Injuries

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Expert Witness Fitness gym Injuries

An expert is a person with specialized knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education which qualifies that person to form helpful opinions for a party in anticipation for litigation or preparation for trial. The court must find, however, in addition to the expert’s qualifications, that the opinion evidence will be relevant to the issues in the case, that it is reliable, and that it will be helpful to the trier of fact.

It is the specialized knowledge or skill, or other attribute listed above, which permits a person to form and offer opinion evidence, rather than fact evidence, and it is the ability to offer opinion testimony which distinguishes the expert witness from fact witnesses.

MISTAKE #1 – Relying only upon information provided 

The attorney is an advocate for his or her client’s position and legal rights and remedies. The expert is not. Do not try to be a lawyer, listen and just stick to the opinion to which you were hired.

It is the expert’s first responsibility, therefore, to ensure that he or she has a full knowledge of all the underlying facts (at the very least those which impact the area of the opinion solicited) and full access to all relevant records. As an expert always do you own private investigation to help discovery more information to help justify the opinion. However do not involve any of the parties in the suit.

MISTAKE #2 – Forgetting That You Are an Advocate Only for Your Own Opinions, and Your Methodology, but not for the Case Itself. I am not a lawyer, and I don’t pretend to be. 

Expert witnesses are much like fact witnesses in one respect: each one should tell the truth, simply, directly, and with sincerity.

An expert witness must be objective. The jury will quickly detect any specialized agenda the expert may have, and the expert’s credibility is directly proportional to the extent of the jury’s belief, i.e. its perception, in his or her objectivity. An objective expert views all facts and underlying data unemotionally and without regard to how the client or attorney wants them viewed. The attorney is an advocate; it is his job to take a side and argue it with passion and conviction (within the parameters of factual reality and legal precedent). It is not the expert’s job to be an advocate for the client, only for the objective truth. Trying to fit an opinion into a preconceived objective or goal will be the death knell of the expert’s credibility, and, therefore, the case.

MISTAKE #3 – Putting Too Much in Writing, Too Soon, and Too Casually.

We are living in the age of discovery, the process of forcing the other side (including experts) to divulge every fact and thought about a lawsuit long before the dispute ever sees the inside of a courtroom. In discovery, there is one fundamental rule: if it’s in writing, it can be had.
Expert witnesses are, not surprisingly, real people…just like lawyers and clients. Without an extreme amount of discipline and self-denial, we all have a tendency today to send a quick e mail, or maybe a “memo,” instead of picking up the telephone and calling, to discuss a point or make a statement or reveal a doubt or weakness about a position. And things written leave records for all the world to see. Think twice before you jump and email haphazardly…get you facts right!

Generally speaking, in the world of expert witnesses there are several types of writings. For example, there are “reports,” there are drafts of reports, there is correspondence, there is electronic mail, there are memos, and there are personal notes (which may be in a notebook, on a napkin, on a desk calendar or “Day Timer,” or even on the old fashioned sheet of paper). And, what is the rule? Right. “If it’s in writing, it can be had.”

My practice, and strong preference, is that if a report is not required, do not do one. If you do not do one, it cannot be discovered. Only the court, by direct order or by inserting the requirement in a case scheduling order, can make the expert prepare a written report.

But, a “report” may not be just the formal document, prepared (hopefully) and signed by the expert and intended to be the expert’s final work product, including an expression of opinions to be submitted in the case. A “report” may be any written communication between the expert and the attorney in which the expert expresses his or her opinions, even in preliminary form. And, it can be (and nowadays very often is ) contained in electronic mail. Furthermore, for some strange reason, we seem to have a tendency to put things in electronic mail that we would never dream of putting in “real” writing. Everything from bad jokes to scandalous commentary…everything. We simply act like it isn’t real, as if it vanishes like the disappearing ink we used as children did. Well, as an Expert Witness in fitness injuries I can tell you it doesn’t.

Finally, if you do have to prepare a report, by all means prepare it yourself ! Do not let an attorney write “your” report for you. The attorney may find some facts missing, or a typo here and there. In that regard, those are to be discussed.  If you must, draft the report as you think it should read and then discuss it with the attorney. If anything needs to be clearer, or maybe placed elsewhere for greater emphasis or persuasiveness, then talk about it, do not write about it.


MISTAKE #4 – Sounding too much like an “expert.”

Clear communication is the key to many relationships. Whether it is a spousal relationship, Fitness injury, sports injury, or gym injury, effective communication is vitally important. I have learned two rules over the course of my career, and I find I do better when I remember to follow them than when I don’t.

Never Talk Down to the Jury . Even if the jury is not “there,” such as a deposition, never, ever talk down to them. Remember this, each person on the jury is an expert, just as you are. Will Rogers once said, “Everyone is ignorant, only on different subjects.” That could be said another way, as well,…”Everyone is an expert , only on different subjects.” So, they may not be experts in the same field as you, or as each other, and they certainly may not have the same level of education or letters after their names, like C.P.A., J.D., or PhD. for example, but they ARE experts in what they do. And, for however long the trial may last, as a matter of law they are experts on the facts of the case being tried and on the credibility of each witness, including you. So be professional and speak clearly, slowly, and with conviction.

Dave Parise CPT FPTS


Expert Witness Fitness Injury – Can I file a claim

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Recent surveys of selected health/fitness facilities conducted by a number of industry professionals, (HINT) have demonstrated that many health clubs and fitness facilities and the professionals working within them have not routinely provided pre-activity participant screening.  Clearly the applicable industry standards and guidelines mandate that such screening take place prior to the individualized “prescription” or recommendations for beginning activity to participants, especially if the expected aerobic and/or strength exercises include those of moderate or higher intensity.  While these same recent survey results also indicated that many industry professionals were unaware of at least some of these standards, it is essential to understand that the lack of familiarity with these statements is not a defense for failing to adhere to such standards. In fact, a failure to screen or even perform screening in a manner consistent with these standards which proximately results in client injury may actually increase the likelihood of legal claims and suits based upon negligence.  This unfortunate situation may be even more likely for personal fitness trainers (PFT) who can probably be expected to be held to a higher standard of care than most other fitness professionals. While personal trainers may not yet be classified as health care professionals and therefore subject legally only to negligence actions (not medical malpractice type lawsuits), legal claims and lawsuits against such professionals are likely to require expert opinion testimony to be successfully asserted against them. Opinion testimony is generally provided in litigation by experts within a given field who provide opinions as to negligence, information about industry standards, and whether deviation or adherence to such standards occurred in the delivery of service by the defendant.  Such testimony then is used by fact finders such as juries to determine whether or not the defendant committed negligence through the delivery of substandard care which proximately caused harm to the person who brought the claim and suit – the plaintiff.  The process of providing individualized exercise parameters for a client (mode, intensity, duration, and progression) and the supervision provided by personal fitness trainers have been the subject of at several reported legal cases. Such suits have been filed predicated on claims of “negligent training, monitoring, instruction, supervision and advice,” those related to the alleged development of unsuitable activity for clients and those related to other alleged deficiencies occurring over the course of ongoing personal trainer activity.  Client injuries based upon claims that clients were told to use too much weight, too much resistance or engage in too many exercise repetitions have been put forth with some regularity.  While such claims of negligence result in personal consequences to those directly involved in the litigation, these events collectively often result in industry actions and in some instances legislative proposals for licensure and other forms of proposed public regulation for personal trainers. These are some guidelines that can help the fitness centers, and gyms decrease liability. I provide risk assessment for many fitness centers.


Expert Witness Fitness Statement

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Testimony usually consisting of opinion evidence given on a scientific, technical, or professional matter by persons qualified to speak authoritatively because of special training, skill, experience, or familiarity about a subject. After 30-years as president of the longest owned, and operated Personal Training, and fitness center, I am an expert in risk assessment, and gym and fitness center injuries.

I work with attorneys who represent the plaintiff and the defendant. The ratio has been 60 percent Plaintiff / 40 percent Defendant. This statistic has been formulated by the referrals I have received.

  The standards I follow as an Expert Witness in Fitness and gym injuries. 

1)     Adapt to the audience/examiner situation.
 The attorneys know that one size does not fit all and the expert has to be savvy enough to take into consideration the makeup of the jury and the cross-examining attorney.

2)     Answer questions on the stand in a way that fits within the client’s theme of the case.
Experts need to know the theme of the case, and work that into their answers in cross-examination so that retaining counsel can argue this successfully at closing.

3)     Communicate clearly, everything is secondary.
All trial attorneys understand that technical expertise in an expert witness is worthless unless the expert can clearly and effectively communicate what the jury needs to know in a respectful, understandable fashion.

4)     Concede points they should concede.
Expert witnesses dramatically increase their credibility when they simply and directly make appropriate concessions. Their honesty is recognized and appreciated by the jury. Expert witnesses who quibble over every petty point are less valuable to retaining counsel as they are less effective.

5)     Listen carefully to the question and answer it directly.
Active listening is a must for an effective expert witness. The expert needs to hear what is being asked, what is not being asked as well as the subtext of the question and then answer it honestly and directly. Defensiveness or evasiveness in an expert can completely destroy his/her effectiveness.

6)     Take the high road when personally attacked.
The expert who does not take it personally and remains cool, calm, and collected when under attack demonstrates professionalism. The contrast with the attacking attorney is not lost on the jury.

7)     Distill complex concepts/science for the jury.
The expert witness who can turn to the jury, smile, and explain to them in language they can understand, complex issues is a very valuable expert. When the attorney and expert witness see some of the jury members nodding their heads, even if it is almost imperceptibly, they know they expert has successfully met this challenge.

8)     Persuade the jury or judge.
The persuasive expert witness who is able to achieve this without being perceived as an advocate is seen by trial attorneys as very desirable and valuable.

9)     Maintain their honesty.
Experts, who in the midst of a contentious adversarial litigation system can maintain their honesty and appearance of honesty are credible experts sought out by trial attorneys.

10) Ability to be jury friendly
Expert witnesses who are able to relate to and connect with members of a jury are seen by trial attorneys as the “go to” experts in both large and small cases.

Expert witnesses who are looking to be retained by  attorneys should critically evaluate their skills and abilities and work to improve in any areas they are not as strong as they could be.

Dave Parise CPT FPTA