Joshua Kobak, Former Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark Stuntman, Files $6 Million Lawsuit
By Michael Gioia
Former Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark stuntman and original cast member Richard Kobak, who, in a lawsuit, claims he was injured during his run with the Broadway musical, is suing Live Nation Worldwide and other companies for a total of $6 million, according to TheWrap.com.
As previoulsy reported, Kobak — also known as Joshua Kobak, a recent St. Jimmy in the North American tour of Green Day's American Idiot — said that he sustained two herniated discs, a concussion, whiplash and holes in both knees as a result of errors by crew members in charge of programming the aerial rigging computer.
According to the suit, filed in U.S. District Court in New York last week, Live Nation Worldwide Inc. supplied and provided Spider-Man producers, 8 Legged Productions, with "certain equipment, devices, machinery, computers, computer programs, systems, navigation systems, safety devices and all relevant and necessary items" used to perform the title role.
The performer filled in for stuntman Christopher Tierney, who was injured at the Dec. 20, 2010, performance after falling 30 feet at the Foxwoods Theatre. Kobak claimed that because of the weight difference between himself and Tierney, he alerted the production's aerial designer, Scott Rogers, that the computer system needed to be recalibrated to soften his landings on stage after flight sequences.
The computer correction was not made until Kobak had completed 16 performances of Spider-Man and numerous rehearsals. The performer said that the hard landings created a .14 cm hole in his right knee and a .9 cm hole in his left knee. Additionally, Kobak sustained a flying-related injury in April 2011, when the computer program controlling a jump from the balcony sent him flying into a wall; he suffered two herniated discs, whiplash and a concussion.
The suit names Scott Fisher, principal of Fisher Technical Services Rentals and Fisher Technical Services Inc., who Kobak maintains was "responsible for the design, creation, manufacture, fabrication, installation, maintenance, repair and upkeep" of various items in the production.
Kobak claims that the defendants were "negligent, careless, and/or reckless" and is seeking a total of $6 million in damages.
Rick Miramontez, a spokesman for the show, said in a statement in April 2012, "The producers have no comment on the matter except to wish Mr. Kobak, who is currently in the American Idiot tour, well."
Numerous actors have been injured in the much-in-the-news production since rehearsals began over a year ago.
Spider-Man features creative consultation by Philip William McKinley, original direction by Tony Award winner Julie Taymor, music and lyrics by 22-time Grammy Award winners Bono and The Edge, and book co-written by Taymor, Glen Berger and Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa.
Inspired by over 40 years of Marvel comic books, Spider-Man, according to press notes, "follows the story of teenager Peter Parker, whose unremarkable life is turned upside-down when he's bitten by a genetically altered spider and wakes up the next morning clinging to his bedroom ceiling. This bullied science-geek suddenly endowed with incredible powers soon learns, however, that with great power comes great responsibility as villains put both his physical strength and strength of character to the test."
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