New York City, NY — Yoga teacher Hilaria Thomas, the wife of actor Alec Baldwin, is being sued by one of her yoga students for alleged physical and emotional injuries.
Hilaria Thomas has been a yoga instructor since 2005.
As the New York Post quipped, her client “got bent out of shape.”
The student, alternatively identified in media accounts as Spencer Wolfe or Spencer Wolff, reportedly clams in legal papers that he suffered serious and severe physical injuries in Thomas’ Lower Manhattan studio trying to perform some kind of dangerous activity. He is also apparently alleging emotional distress which is standard in many personal injury lawsuits.
According to the New York Daily News, the plaintiff — who is said to be a Huffington Post blogger — blames his injuries on the class being too crowded and Hilaria’s negligence.
Alec Baldwin and Hilaria Thomas married in June 2012 and are expecting their first child together. Baldwin previously expressed a desire to be a a stay-at-home dad and that “I want [Hilaria Thomas] to become the world’s first billionaire yoga teacher.”
It remains to be seen, of course, if this lawsuit has any merit and whether the plaintiff will have to go into any “legal contortions” to prove the case.
That aside, usually yoga studios and martial arts schools require each student to sign a waiver of liability. These waivers are in general legally binding against any subsequent lawsuit unless there is a finding of gross negligence, fraud, or some unreasonably dangerous activity, or something of that character.
Last year the New York Times published a detailed report on the health risks of yoga for students who push themselves (or are pushed by instructors) too hard. The story summarized the issues as follows:
“Among devotees, from gurus to acolytes forever carrying their rolled-up mats, yoga is described as a nearly miraculous agent of renewal and healing. They celebrate its abilities to calm, cure, energize and strengthen. And much of this appears to be true: yoga can lower your blood pressure, make chemicals that act as antidepressants, even improve your sex life. But the yoga community long remained silent about its potential to inflict blinding pain …But a growing body of medical evidence supports [yoga teacher Glenn] Black’s contention that, for many people, a number of commonly taught yoga poses are inherently risky.”
Do you think that the celebrity status of Hilaria Thomas as Alec Baldwin’s wife has anything to do with the yoga lawsuit filed against her? In other words, is this lawsuit “a stretch”?