LAS VEGAS (CelebrityAccess) The trial continues regarding a lawsuit against David Copperfield, who has been accused of negligence and causing injury because of a trick deemed dangerous.
Copperfield has been using a trick in his show for many years called “Lucky #13” where people are brought onstage, disappeared, and reappear in the back of the theatre. About five years ago, a man claims he slipped during the production and suffered a traumatic brain injury.
During the Las Vegas court proceedings, the details of the trick were revealed, with the judge denying the defense’s request to clear the courtroom during that portion of the jury trial. The trick has been performed using about 55,000 participants and the judge ruled that the details of the stage trick are already known to many.
Gavin Cox, a 58-year-old British tourist, said he was at the show when it was at the MGM Grand Resort and Casino in Vegas in 2013. He was there for his birthday, and was randomly picked for the vanishing act.
His attorney, Benedict Morelli, said in opening statements that Cox didn’t know what he was in for, according to NBC News. Cox, onstage and behind a curtain, was told, “Stand up, come with me” and was never warned he could be injured during the exit to the back of house.
Morelli claimed the audience didn’t see the “chaos” behind the scenes, with participants rushed back to their seats through a “secret passage” of hallways and even an outdoor area. He said there was an include and general dust and debris from construction with parts of the MGM Grand still under construction, according to NBC, and Cox fell about 22 feet in front of the door to reenter the theatre.
Cox was taken to a hospital with a dislocated shoulder but, after returning to Britain, where he worked as a chef, Cox said he suffered chronic pain and a scan revealed a lesion on his brain, according to NBC.
MGM Grand attorney Jerry Popovich said on the stand that Cox simply missed a step and the area where he fell had maybe a 1-degree drop. He added that Copperfield had walked through that same area for another illusion about 10 minutes earlier and would have alerted the crew if the route was dangerous. Popovich added that the trick has been retired.
Chris Kenner, executive producer of the show, revealed the details of the trick to the jury. Morelli actually asked him, “Is that route an obstacle course?” to which Kenner replied “no.” However, Morelli also asked if the participants were told they what they were going to do as they were running the route to which Kenner replied “yes,” according to the AP.
Cox is suing for $400,000 according to NBC News; he is seeking unspecified damages according to the Associated Press.