A fill-in stuntman who worked on the beleaguered Broadway musical Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark last winter has become the first performer to start legal action against the show’s producers for injuries sustained while working.
Richard Kobak says he suffered two herniated discs, whiplash, a .14 cm hole in his right knee, a .9 cm hole in his left knee, and a concussion due to crew errors when programming the aerial rigging gear, the New York Times reported.
Kobak was replacing Christopher Tierney, a stunt man who was injured in December 2010 when he fell more than nine metres from a platform on the stage. Tierney has since recovered and is back in the show.
On Tuesday, Kobak’s lawyers filed papers in the State Supreme Court in New York requesting the producers provide e-mails and other documentation that relates to the computer system and to Kobak’s injuries.
In an affidavit, Kobak says he told Scott Rogers, the aerial designer, that the stunts were not working as planned because of the weight difference between Tierney and Kobak. Kobak alleges the necessary changes were not made until he had finished 16 performances and numerous rehearsals.
"The producers have no comment on the matter except to wish Mr. Kobak, who is currently in the American Idiot tour, well," a spokesman for the producers told the New York Times in an email.
In the fall of 2010 there were five other injury incidents during rehearsals for the show. The producers are facing another lawsuit from former director Julie Taymor for using her work without remunerating her after she ceased to be the director. They are counter-suing Taymore.
The show is the considered the most expensive Broadway musical ever, costing $75 million US. The show costs roughly $1 million a week to produce and brings in roughly $1.5 million a week, according to the New York Times.
U2 band members Bono and the Edge composed the music.