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Halle Berry's Trainer Sued by Woman Who Claims She Suffered Spinal Injury in His Class

By Daniel Goldblatt

A woman who says she once climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro claims she was left "nearly crippled" after she was injured in a workout class taught by the guy best known for getting Halle Berry into insane shape.

According to court documents obtained by The Blast, Linnea Pedersen claims she took a class on December 17, 2018 at WOLA, a gym in West Hollywood. She claims the studio was designed "cardiovascular training, light weightlifting, and agility exercises."

But the class she took that day was called P.H.I.G.T (Protective High Intensity Group Training) which she claims the studio was not equipped for. Pedersen claims, "The hard rubber flooring that's used for low impact training does not provide adequate padding to prevent injury in a martial arts class."

The class was taught by Peter Lee Thomas, who was brought in to teach the class.

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During the class, Pedersen claims she was practicing her kicks with sneakers on. Her sister was holding a kicking pad at waist-height when she claims Thomas came over to observe her form. She says Thomas then "demonstrated a kick that was aimed toward her partner's head, higher than the kicks Pedersen had been practicing in the class so far."

"Pedersen attempted the kick that Thomas had demonstrated," the lawsuit states, "kicking high with her right leg. Because of the height of the kick, her left leg rose off the ground as well, and instead of landing on her back foot, Pedersen fell to the ground hard, landing on her lower back."

She claims her fall was so loud, the entire class stopped what they were doing. Pedersen says at first, she was "completely paralyzed" from the fall. She says she laid on the floor for roughly eight minutes, screaming in pain, before she was finally able to stand up.

Pedersen claims she was in the hospital for two days and suffered a T12 compression fracture in her spine, as well as disc herniation. She says she has required several follow-up visits to the hospital, has undergone physical therapy, and may require therapy in the future.


Pedersen is suing Thomas, the gym and its owner, Craig Juda, for negligence. The lawsuit, which was filed by celebrity attorney Perry Wander, states she is seeking unspecified damages.

The Blast reached out to all of the named defendants for comment but none of them have responded as of yet.


Halle Berry has been very active on her social media pages over the past year and has credited Thomas with her new commitment to fitness.

She started a #FitnessFriday last year and in her first post, gave him the credit for her transformation.

Berry wrote, "I’d like to introduce you to my favorite trainer and what I call my secret weapon! Peter Lee Thomas! This man has changed my life. Besides being an all around wonderful human, he’s a trainer, martial artist, fellow actor, and nutrition specialist! With his help, I have learned so much about fitness and nutrition and I’m excited to share it with all of you. He’s taught me boxing, self defense, and much more."

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