Woman withdraws personal injury claim against Lidl after court sees video of her in gym class

Footage, taken by private investigators for supermarket chain, showed Ewa Ledzinska swinging a kettlebell, lifting weights and doing burpees

Ewa Ledzinska (42) from Kildare town, a former Lidl worker who sued the retail chain over an alleged back injury, photographed in a gym during a workout. The photographs were presented in court as evidence for Lidl.

A former Lidl worker has withdrawn her personal injuries claim against the supermarket after the High Court was shown a video of her doing vigorous exercise at a gym.

The video, which was taken by private investigators for the supermarket chain, showed Ewa Ledzinska this week running on the spot, swinging a kettlebell, lifting weights and doing burpees in a half-hour exercise session.

Senior counsel for Lidl, Finbarr Fox, instructed by Wayne Finn of Holmes O’Malley and Sexton, put it to Ms Ledzinska she was fit enough to be in the army, and this was rigorous training.

Ms Ledzinska replied: “For me, it is stretching and cardio.”

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The 42-year-old, who lives in Kildare town, had sued her former employer, Lidl Ireland, claiming she sustained a severe back injury and is in constant back pain as a result of her working conditions at the Newbridge Lidl branch.

Ewa Ledzinska (42) from Kildare town a former Lidl worker who has sued Lidl over an alleged back injury. Photograph: Collins Courts

She claimed it began in 2021 when she lifted a 25kg box as she prepared the special offers aisle. Her claim, which included loss of earnings, amounted to a total of €300,000 in special damages, the court heard.

She has not worked since and told Mr Justice Mícheál P O’Higgins she is now on an invalidity pension and said she has pain, “problems moving” and wakes for two to three hours every night.

On the second day of the hearing a video of Ms Ledzinska was shown to the court.

Mr Fox put it to her that she told the judge she was only able to do gentle Pilates. “You didn’t tell the judge about this. It’s very very far away from gentle Pilates,” counsel said.

He said she had portrayed herself as a woman who was struggling with a disability and who couldn’t walk for more than 10 minutes and here she was doing intense vigorous training.

Ms Ledzinska replied: “I have two legs; I have two arms and I am not in a wheelchair. I still have pain.”

She agreed it was not gentle Pilates and said she started to go to the gym last February but had a break in March because it was so sore for her before resuming gym work again.

Counsel put it to her that she had allegedly “conned the Department of Social Protection and you should not be on an invalidity pension no more than the man in the moon”. Ms Ledzinska replied that to get her invalidity pension she had to send in her MRI scan results.

Counsel put it to her that she had deliberately sought to mislead the court on the level of her injury. Ms Ledzinska said she had two hands and two legs and she still has pain. She said she had strong legs her but not her back.

At this stage Mr Justice Míchéal P O’Higgins intervened and said he would adjourn for a short time as there were issues to be discussed between the parties. He advised Ms Ledzinska to listen to her legal advisers.

When the court resumed, senior counsel for Ms Ledzinska, Michael Byrne, told the judge it had been a difficult case and that his client was now withdrawing her claim. She had also agreed that she would make a contribution to Lidl’s legal costs.