Yoga Injury Case Not Allowed to Move Forward Says California Appeals Court

yoga pose

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A motion for summary judgment is granted when the judge believes that there are no issues of material fact between the parties and one of the parties is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. In other words, summary judgment motions are granted when even if the facts are looked at in the light most favorable to the other party, it is still clear that one party should prevail. In this case, summary judgment was granted to the yoga studio because the plaintiff did not meet her burden of showing that there was actual a triable issue here. The laws around personal injury can be complicated, which is why it is important to contact a knowledgeable California personal injury attorney if you are injured. They can help you to understand whether you have a case or not.

Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was at a yoga class at the defendant’s yoga studio. During the class, the instructor used a yoga belt to help position her right leg over her left, pushed down on the plaintiff’s lower back, and twisted her neck. While she claimed that these adjustments caused her pain, she did not inform the yoga instructor of any issues or ask him to stop.

The defendant yoga studio offered expert testimony that showed that the plaintiff’s injuries were not due to some acute trauma, but were instead from degenerative and arthritic conditions. A psychotherapist who is also a yoga instructor testified that the yoga instructor’s adjustments were typical of someone in his position. The plaintiff did not provide her own experts to dispute these claims, but rather referred to her own testimony and medical records to refute the claims. The trial court held that the opinions of the experts should be admitted and granted summary judgment for the yoga studio. This dismissed the plaintiff’s suit.

Appeals Court

On appeal, the California Court of Appeals reviewed the motion for summary judgment de novo. That means that they do not need to defer at all to the findings of the trial court. The appeals court explained that in order to prove negligence – the underlying claim of personal injury actions – a plaintiff must prove that the defendant breached a duty of care that they owed to the defendant. They also need to prove that the breach was the proximate cause of their injuries.

In order to prove what the applicable standard of care is for a professional, a defendant can offer evidence from other professionals in the field. To combat this testimony, a plaintiff needs to present evidence from another professional in the field to dispute the opinion of the initial expert. Here, since the plaintiff did not provide any expert opinions as to the applicable standard of care for yoga teachers the appeals court upheld the trial court’s grant of the summary judgment motion. 

Contact an Experienced Southern California Personal Injury Attorney Today

If you are injured in an accident, you should get the assistance of a knowledgeable personal injury attorney. These cases require specific proof in order to recover for your injuries. The attorneys at Neumann Law Group can help you gather the evidence you need to prove your case in court.. Neumann Law Group serves clients in Southern California, including Los Angeles and Huntington Beach. Call us today at (213) 277-0001 or use the contact form on this website.

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