CrossFit Absolved of Wrongdoing in $3 Million Back Injury Lawsuit

CrossFit Inc., Washington, D.C., and one of its St. Louis affiliates were absolved of any wrongdoing in a $3 million lawsuit in which a personal injury attorney blamed a back injury on her CrossFit trainer's inadequacy, according to documents recently filed in Missouri State Court.

A Missouri circuit court jury denied plaintiff Julia Kerr, a personal injury attorney, $3 million in damages related to a herniated disc injury she claimed she sustained while performing a deadlift at No Shelter CrossFit in St. Louis. Kerr alleged her trainer's inadequate instruction caused her to improperly perform the lift and sustain an injury.

According to court documents, Kerr did not seek medical attention for the injury until five weeks after performing the lift and did not mention the alleged incident at No Shelter to her doctor. CrossFit denied responsibility for Kerr’s injury and argued that she had pre-existing back issues that she failed to disclose to her trainer, who would have otherwise never allowed her to perform a deadlift.

"The jury found what would be patently obvious to any casual observer: CrossFit had zero liability in this case," CrossFit said in a statement provided to Club Industry on Dec. 12. "In fact, the CrossFit affiliate owner and trainer did an excellent job teaching and instructing a movement that is essential to human health and fitness."

Judge Christopher McGraugh presided over the case. Kerr was represented by Rob Sullivan of Sullivan Law LLC, and CrossFit was represented by Kevin Williams and Anna Indelevich of Weinberg Wheeler Hudgins Gunn & Dial LLC, as well as by Nathan Leming of Baker Sterchi Cowden & Rice LLC.

CrossFit has faced several similar lawsuits in recent years. In October 2016, a jury found CrossFit and one of its Kansas City, Missouri, affiliates at fault for a client's spinal injury which required emergency surgery.