The Report: ‘Spider-Man’ — Turn on the Lawyers
Who is responsible for the injuries plaguing Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark? Broadway legal experts say medical bills for the actors’ injuries — Natalie Mendoza suffered a concussion from flying equipment, and co-star Christopher Tierney was hospitalized after falling 20 feet when a cable detached from his harness — are covered by workers’ compensation insurance. But suing for additional damages from the show’s producers would be tough unless the actors could show “gross negligence,” a difficult standard under New York law. Broadway legal veteran Seth Gelblum, who represents Spider-Man director Julie Taymor, isn’t aware of any legal challenges to the show. “If you look back at history, there’s always been a lot of broken bones on Broadway,” he says. Still, those hurt doing death-defying stunts do have options. In 2008, actor Adrian Bailey fell 35 feet through an automated trap door before a performance of Disney’s The Little Mermaid. Bailey sued the company that designed the trap door, and the vendor has since dragged Disney into the dispute. “Sue the vendors, who will turn around and sue the producers,” says Bailey lawyer Alan Shapey, adding that show producers have incentive to settle with injured actors lest they blab publicly about behind-the-scenes drama.