POISON singer Bret Michaels‘ attorney is calling the third-party complaint filed by the defendants in the rocker’s Tony Awards lawsuit “a desperate act.”
Bret filed a lawsuit against the Tony Awards in March 2011 in conjunction with a mishap that occurred during a production number featuring the “Rock Of Ages” cast, which resulted in a head injury for Michaels.
According to Bret‘s attorney, Alex Weingarten, the Tonys organization and CBS have filed a third-party cross complaint in U.S. District Court in New York last week against Rock Of Ages Broadway LLC — which he claims is an attempt to deflect blame for the incident.
Weingarten, managing partner of Weingarten Brown LLP, has released the following statement:
“Defendants CBS Broadcasting, Inc., Tony Awards Productions, White Cherry Entertainment, Inc. and others involved in producing the 2009 Tony Awards, where rock star Bret Michaels sustained life-threatening head injuries, filed a Third Party Complaint in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York against third-party Rock Of Ages Broadway LLC.
“Michaels was leaving the stage after performing with the ‘Rock Of Ages’ cast when a set piece was lowered, striking him on the head, throwing him to the ground, and resulting in a near-fatal brain hemorrhage. In their complaint, the third-party plaintiffs do not dispute the extent of Michaels‘ injuries, but rather simply seek to shift the blame — denying any negligence on their part and alleging that ‘Rock Of Ages’ is either directly responsible for Michaels’ injuries, or must indemnify the defendants if a jury determines they were at fault.
“This is a desperate act. The producers of the Tony Awards and their co-defendants cannot credibly deny that they almost killed Bret while he was performing with the cast of ‘Rock Of Ages’, so instead they are trying to point the finger elsewhere. CBS and the rest of the defendants are just grasping at straws. It was their negligence that injured Bret, and it was then their decision to try to profit from his injuries by joking about them and playing them for ratings. We did not drag ‘Rock Of Ages’ into this, and Bret has nothing but the utmost respect for them, their production and the performers who were on stage and in harm’s way with him that night.
“After the injury, Michaels repeatedly attempted to resolve the matter amicably and out of court in an effort to avoid adding to the already substantial publicity surrounding the accident. The Tony Awards could have — but did not — take advantage of the standard broadcast delay to prevent the video from being transmitted. The incident became an Internet mainstay, and at one point was one of the 10 most-viewed clips on YouTube. The Tony Awards and its producers have yet to apologize to Michaels, let alone take responsibility for the severe injuries they caused. Instead, defendants have sought to point the blame first at Michaels himself, and now at ‘Rock Of Ages’.”
A copy of Michaels‘ March 2011 lawsuit can be viewed as a PDF file at this location.
The suit, originally filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, states that Michaels was told by the producers that he should simply exit from the stage rear after he was done with his performance. The suit states that Michaels was never told the scenery piece would be descending or given “any warning of the existence of the dangers it presented.”
According to the lawsuit, Bret nearly died in April 2010 from a subarachnoid brain hemorrhage, which he believes was caused by the injuries he suffered at the Tony Awards. In his suit, Michaels claims, “One of the most common causes of this type of hemorrhage is head trauma — exactly like the one Michaels suffered at the hands of the Tony Awards.” Michaels notes, “Through his sheer will to live, to see his children grow up, [he] was able to survive this trauma.”
Shortly after the Tony Awards incident, Tonys spokeswoman Christina Stejskal said the rocker “missed his mark,” which resulted in him failing to get back to the stage in time (as did the rest of POISON) and trying to jump up, only to have a descending set piece smack him on the head and knock him to the ground.
Back in June 2009, Michaels told People.com that he had no plans to file a lawsuit over the Tony Awards incident, insisting, “I want to make very clear to everybody that — first and foremost — I was honored to be asked to be at the Tonys. I’d never done it before and in all my life it’s not something I thought I’d be on. I was really excited. There’s no lawsuit. I’m not doing any of that. I’m taking the high road.”
Michaels‘ neurologist Dr. Joseph Zabramski held a press conference for reporters in May 2010 and responded to speculation that the POISON frontman’s brain hemorrhage could be related to his onstage injury at the Tony Awards. “I do not believe that that [a connection between the brain hemorrhage and the Tony Awards injury] is a possibility at all,” said Zabramski. The doctor added that far too much time had passed for the incidents to be related. “A hit in the head can cause a subacute hemorrhage, but it causes it immediately,” Zabramski explained. “If that had caused a problem that led to this hemorrhage, we would have seen a problem with his blood vessels.”