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Plaintiff Gavin Cox claims he slipped and fell while participating in a David Copperfield trick, and sustained brain damage. Will the illusionist be held liable? Jurors in Las Vegas, Nevada are on the seventh day of testimony in this civil trial.
Copperfield (born David S. Kotin) has easily been one of the nation’s most popular magicians in recent decades, but the lawsuit has done no favors for his public profile. Cox claimed that he and his wife when to a show at the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino in November 12, 2013. Cox said he and 12 other audience members were randomly picked to participate in the trick “Lucky 13.” They were to disappear and reappear as part of the illusion. Also part of the trick, they were to go through a backstage area. Cox alleged that this space was dark, and covered in dirt and debris. It is here that he allegedly slipped and fell. He sued, claiming to have sustained brain damage from the incident.
MGM attorney Jerry Popovich told jurors that Cox fell not because of negligence by the defendants, but because he missed a step. Executive producer Chris Kenner testified to being unaware of anyone getting hurt during the trick. So did Copperfield, who is expected to return to the stand next week. Magicians aren’t known for revealing their secrets, but at the very least, Copperfield won’t have to do that with all his work. Even if “Lucky 13” gets overexposed, his other illusions will be safe. A Nevada appeals court ruled Tuesday that the public and media have to be kicked out of the courtroom if attorneys ask him about his other tricks.
Copperfield’s former personal assistant Almai Weall took the stand on Thursday. She testified about the protocol in place if anyone fell backstage. In practice, security would be notified. So would Kenner.
She testified that in 2013, she saw a woman fall during the “Lucky 13” illusion, but this individual claimed not to be injured.
“If the person decided to stay, in this case, she did not want to stay,” Weall said. “She did not want to file a report. She just said she was fine, and felt fine to leave.”
[David Copperfield via KTNV]