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Operaccident = Negligence?
Highest Court S.D. New York
Year Ended 2008
Plaintiffs Artist(s)
Defendants Metropolitan Opera Association
Zeffirelli, Franco
Other Verdi, Giuseppe
Short Description This sort of lawsuit is common among rock musicians--people are always falling over, slipping off stages and into holes, etc., which is no surprise given how drunk rockers often are. But this suit involves the fancy world of opera, specifically the Metropolitan Opera Association of New York and famed film director and opera producer, Franco Zeffirelli, not dirty stages and scruffy venues. Plaintiff was an opera singer who fell from a raised part of the stage onto the lower section below, sustaining serious injuries. Plaintiff sued the Association and Zeffirelli for negligently designing and maintaining the stage. Before suing Defendants directly, he filed a workers' compensation claim, from which medical bills were paid. But no amounts for lost compensation were granted. Defendants argued that Plaintiff was an "employee" according to the state workers' compensation statute, and thus workers comp claims were his exclusive remedy. The court found that Plaintiff was plainly an employee under the statute, which includes anyone "engaged in the performing arts who performs services as such for a . . . theatre . . . or similar establishment," unless employed by someone else. The words of the statute, legislative history, and existing precedent all supported a reading of the statute that included Plaintiff within the statutory category. Furthermore, Plaintiff already sued under workers comp auspices; he cannot claim the benefits without accepting the limitations of the statutes. Cause dismissed. - LSW

Legal Issues
Employment Law State Statute/Common Law Workers' Compensation
Torts Negligence Personal & Emotional Injury

Opinions Fouchecourt v. Metropolitan Opera Ass'n
537 F.Supp.2d 629
S.D. New York , March 24, 2008 ( No. 07 Civ. 3778(DC) )

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Related Searches Parties
Artist(s) ( Plaintiff )
Metropolitan Opera Association ( Defendant )
Verdi, Giuseppe ( Other )
Zeffirelli, Franco ( Defendant )

Legal Issues
Employment Law / State Statute/Common Law / Workers' Compensation
Torts / Negligence / Personal & Emotional Injury

S.D. New York (highest court)

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