Maya Meron, 43, needed hospital treatment for a fractured left elbow and serious abdominal injuries after an exercise machine at the Heartcore studio in Hampstead allegedly collapsed while she was using it.
The professional violin and viola player, who has performed with top orchestras and conductors around the world, says she was left unable to play and struggling to look after her one-year-old twin sons.
Ms Meron is mounting a claim for damages against Heartcore Fitness Limited, the premium fitness brand founded by Jess Schuring.
Ms Schuring, also known as Jessie Blum, counts Victoria Beckham, Elle McPherson and Robbie Williams among her clients, and she was reportedly the favoured London Pilates teacher of the Duchess of Sussex.
The alleged incident happened in March 2019. Ms Meron, who has instructed Osbornes Law to bring her case, signed up for a 6pm pilates class as she regained fitness after the birth of her twins. The mother-of-three says she took her place on a Coreformer exercise machine, and was told by the instructor to adjust the locking bar.
After warm-up exercises, Ms Meron was told to adopt the “downward facing dog” position, she said, placing extra force on to the bar she had adjusted.
“After a number of repetitions of the exercise, the front support and locking bar collapsed forwards when she was holding on to it,” said Robert Glancy KC, in legal submissions to the Central London county court.
Ms Meron said: “The force of the machine not locking catapulted me forward. I heard my elbow break above the sound of the machine crashing. It is a sound I can never forget.”
Ms Meron has appeared at the BBC Proms, performed with the London Symphony Orchestra, the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra under famous British conductor Sir Simon Rattle, she was part of Daniel Barenboim’s West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, and she formed part of Paavo Järvi’s acclaimed festival orchestra.
She says elbow surgery, reconstructive procedures to her abdomen, as well as lingering wrist pain and reduced finger strength have brought her globe-trotting music career to a halt.
“I have had to turn down almost all of the work offered to me as the more I play, the worse my condition gets,” she said.
“I know I have a long way to go, I have long-term nerve damage of two nerves in my left arm and I can’t separate two fingers on my left hand, but music is my life, and I will keep up with the treatment so that I can get back on the global stage in whatever capacity of playing I can.
“I have experienced the most touching support from so many amazing musicians around the world. Some of the orchestras that I have worked with have even offered me the possibility to play only a part of a concert programme, just so that I can be back on stage playing with other musicians again. This is the goal that I am aiming for.”
Ms Meron added: “It isn’t just my musical career that the incident took away from me, but also my ability to independently look after my twin boys who had just turned a year old when it happened. “For months after I was no longer able to hold them and care for them in the way that a mother should. That is time I will never get back.”
“I have long-term nerve damage of two nerves in my left arm and I can’t separate two fingers on my left hand. It isn’t just my musical career that the incident took away from me, but also my ability to independently look after my twin boys.”
Rob Aylott, a specialist personal injury lawyer at Osbornes Law, said the case is expected to come to trial in January next year.
“My client was enjoying a glittering career which was unceremoniously halted by a trip to Heartcore.
“We have evidence that the pilates machines at the studio were ill-maintained and not fit for purpose. It is only right that Ms Meron is bringing this action against a defendant who refuses to stop believing they have done nothing wrong.”
The case is expected to come to trial in January next year. Heartcore Fitness, which is understood to be mounting a defence in the case, has been contacted for comment.