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Stuntman killed during 'Expendables 2' filming; family files suit

A little over a month ago, we wrote a post about a man who died while skydiving because his parachute failed to open. Could his family have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the skydiving company or the manufacturer of the parachute?

The answer is yes, they absolutely could. But the matter of "assumed risk" could ultimately sink the lawsuit. Danger is inherent to the activity of skydiving, which means that it is harder to prove that the death is wrongful. The participant chose to do something that is dangerous.

There is a slightly more complicated wrongful death lawsuit going on, involving the movie "Expendables 2." A stuntman on the set of the movie was killed in October 2011. The scene he was shooting placed him on a rubber boat, and a planned explosion near the boat seriously injured the stuntman, as well as one other member of the film's crew.

The stuntman later died because of his injuries, and as a result his family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Millennium Films (the studio making the film) and the stunt team's coordinator.

So the question in this case is, how does assumed risk apply? The man was doing his job -- albeit an inherently dangerous job. At the same time, the scene in which he was hurt was supposed to be controlled, and the stunt coordinator was supposed to properly prepare the stuntman for what was coming. Was either the studio or the coordinator negligent in their duties on set?

Source: Associated Press, "Suit filed over 'Expendables 2' stuntman's death," July 26, 2012

  • Our firm handles similar situations to the one discussed in this post. If you would like to learn more about our practice, please visit our Maryland wrongful death page.

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