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Lawsuit: Bally Gym Members Were Locked Out After LA Fitness Takeover

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(Credit: Bally Total Fitness)

(Credit: Bally Total Fitness)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — The recent takeover of Bally Total Fitness in Chicago by LA Fitness is now a federal case.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Regine Schlesinger reports, some Chicago-area Bally’s members are suing in a class-action case, claiming that LA Fitness locked them out of the gyms where they were members.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Regine Schlesinger reports

In late November, Bally’s e-mailed all clients with a notice that the company had “made the decision to focus our portfolio of fitness centers in certain key markets.” Chicago was not one of those cities.

The e-mail told clients that LA Fitness will assume all Bally membership agreements for the affected clubs, and begin collecting membership dues. Since then, the turnstiles at the front of at least one club have been removed, and showing a Bally’s ID has been sufficient to allow entry.

But Mike Markzon and some other Bally’s members say that was not their experience. They say as of Dec. 1 when LA Fitness took over, their memberships no longer were honored and they weren’t allowed to work out.

Another Chicago-area plaintiff says Bally’s suggested he work out at the Bally’s club in St. Louis.

Even where there is an LA Fitness facility nearby, the lawsuit alleges, Bally’s members were told they couldn’t use it unless they bought a new membership.

The plaintiffs are suing for alleged violations of the federal honest services law, consumer fraud and breach of contract.

Bally has 10 locations within the city limits that are transitioning to LA Fitness clubs, including high-profile gyms at the Century Mall, at 2828 N. Clark St. in East Lakeview; downtown at 25 E. Washington St.; at 355 E. Grand Ave. in Streeterville; and in the River City complex at 800 S. Wells St. There are also 13 more locations in the suburbs.

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