April 06, 2012 9:29am PT by Eriq Gardner
Stuntman in 'Spider-Man' Musical Exploring Legal Action Over Injuries
Richard Kobak, a stunt performer on Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark, is the latest to claim injury from high-flying stunts for the Broadway production. Kobak is the first to take his claims to court, filing a petition in New York Supreme Court that seeks documents relating to the computer system that was supposed to control the aerial rigging.
According to the legal documents, Kobak began to suffer injuries on Dec. 20, 2010, when he replaced Christopher Tierney as the "Hero Flyer" responsible for executing Spider-Man's high-flying feats. Tierney suffered serious injuries in a 30-foot fall that night and was rushed to Bellevue Hospital Center.
Kobak took Tierney's place and now says that the necessary weight adjustments weren't made to the computer system. As a result, he alleges, he was caused to make hard floor landings on 70 occasions, causing injuries to both of his knees. He reports a hole of .14 cm in his right knee and a hole of .9 cm in his left knee.
He says he advised Scott Rogers, the person in charge of the stunts of the problem, but no corrective measures were made.
On April 5, Kobak says he was again performing a stunt where he had to jump off the balcony and fly by ropes to a perch at the side of the stage. Rogers allegedly was unhappy with the stunt because Kobak wasn't letting go of the rope and lifting up his legs to allow the computer program to bring him onto the perch without any maneuvering.
Kobak says he took Rogers' direction that day and was pulled straight into a wall. He reports suffering two herniated discs, intense whiplash and a concussion.
His attorney has now gone to a New York court to obtain information from producer 8 Legged Productions relating to the computer program. "The information sought is essential to determining whether an action may be brought," the court papers say.
The producers didn't have any comment except to express best wishes to Kobak, who they say is currently with American Idiot, the Green Day musical.