A Los Angeles jury on Nov. 20 awarded Jennifer Fraissl $4.5 million in damages against DJ and producer Skrillex (real name Sonny John Moore), his touring company, Lost Boys Touring Company, Inc., and the Belasco Theater in Los Angeles.
Fraissl alleged that on February 11, 2012, Skrillex stage dove at the end of his set, causing her to be struck in the back of her head and neck. Although she was unaware of it at the time, the blow caused her to suffer a rare vertebral artery dissection, followed by a catastrophic stroke 16 days later.
The jury voted 12-0, finding all defendants negligent and responsible for Fraissl’s stroke. The jury found Skrillex 35 percent responsible, Lost Boys Touring, Inc. 40 percent responsible, and the Belasco Theater 10 percent liable. The jury awarded Fraissl $4.5 million in damages, which will be reduced to over $3.8 million because the jury found Fraissl 15 percent at fault.
Fraissl was represented by Seth I. Rosenberg of Emergent LLP, and B. Mark Fong and Seema Bhatt of Minami Tamaki LLP. Fraissl’s attorneys believe this is the first successful jury award in a case involving injuries resulting from a performer’s crowd dive.
Fraissl’s case faced numerous obstacles, including asking the jury to find the defendants liable for a blow that could not be seen on videos of the show, and which occurred in a setting where many people assume stage diving occurs. Fraissl’s attorneys also had to convince the jury that her stroke being caused by the blow to her head two weeks earlier was not only possible, but probable. Ultimately, credible expert and lay witnesses, plus a remarkably effective trial presentation prevailed.
“Skrillex caused Jennifer Fraissl to be injured, and the jury saw past his celebrity and wealth to hold him and the other defendants responsible,” said Rosenberg. “We presented a common-sense case despite attempts by the Skrillex team to blame the victim.”
Fraissl’s attorneys called experts from fields such as vascular neurology, interventional neuroradiology, security, and biomechanics to explain the complexity of arterial dissections and stroke, as well as crowd dynamics during a stage dive.
“Jennifer Fraissl showed that when the truth is on your side, David can beat Goliath,” said Fong. “We’re glad Jennifer persevered through this six-year-long case and are thankful to the jury and the judge for a fair and impartial trial.”