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Woman loses case claiming injuries from yoga assist

Lawsuits

By Takesha Thomas | Sep 3, 2018


LOS ANGELES (Legal Newsline) – A California appellate court has affirmed a lower court's ruling against a woman who alleges a yoga instructor caused her injury.

The California Second Appellate District Court, Division One ruled to uphold the decision from Los Angeles County Superior Court in Amalia Webster's claim. The trial court had granted summary judgment in favor of the defendant Claremont Yoga after Webster claimed that instructor Kurt Bumiller caused her injuries in 2014 when he adjusted her posture during a class.

In an Aug. 16 ruling, the three-judge panel ruled to uphold the Los Angeles County Superior Court's ruling that said Webster failed to show evidence or have expert testimony that her injury was caused as a result of the class.

According to the ruling, in testimony for Claremont Yoga, psychotherapist and yoga instructor Jonathan Simons claimed that it was “quite common for yoga teachers to touch students during class and assist them when they are improperly doing yoga positions. Further, yoga instructors often adjust students and help them stretch during certain poses.”

Webster had argued that Bumiller had injured her several times during the October 2014 yoga class. According to the ruling, Bumiller "placed a belt around her waist and right leg to help her position her right leg over her left, which Webster claimed was painful." He then allegedly "pushed down on her lower back while she was in a 'cow position' which Webster claimed hurt her knee," the ruling states.

According to the ruling, Webster "contended that while she was laying on her back, Bumiller twisted her neck to both sides three times, which she asserted caused her pain." 

However, the ruling notes that "at no point did Webster inform Bumiller that she was in pain or ask him to stop what he was doing."

Attorneys for Claremont Yoga presented expert testimony from Simmons and Dr. Jeffrey Decky to the trial court questioning Webster's alleged injury. The experts asserted that Webster's injuries were in fact due to "'chronic degenerative disc disease and arthritic changes,' not 'a traumatic injury or acute injury' occurring during the yoga class." 

The courts ruled that attorneys for Webster failed to provide evidence supporting the claim that the injury was caused by the yoga instructor. Attorneys for Webster argued that the medical records were "sufficient" to dispute Claremont Yoga's claim.

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