Magician David Copperfield Sued For Trick Gone Awry, Are His Secrets in Jeopardy?

By George Khoury, Esq. on March 21, 2017 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

David Copperfield, the world famous magician, illusionist, and performer, is being sued, along with the Las Vegas venue where he performed his act, after one his popular tricks didn't go exactly as planned. While the illusion was successful, one of the audience participants tripped, fell, and hit his head, while the behind the scenes "magic" was happening.

The injury causing illusion took place back in 2013, and the case was originally set for trial this past January, but it has since been pushed back to October of this year. The plaintiff's attorneys are claiming that Copperfield's secret behind his trick will be revealed during trial, though Copperfield has managed to keep it out of the public eye thus far by keeping the record sealed due to it being proprietary information.

But Obviously There's a Secret Door

While the threat of forcing a magician to reveal their secrets may sound silly, it is akin to asking a technology company to release their proprietary information and trade secrets. However, like most illusions that make a person disappear, of course there's a secret door and secret passageway involved. What's more likely at stake is whether, and how well, Copperfield, or the venue, checks for safety issues, like tripping hazards.

Secret Doors, Passage Ways, and Injuries

The lawsuit alleges that as part of the trick, the plaintiff was selected as one of a dozen audience participants, whom Copperfield was going to make disappear and reappear. As part of the trick, the participants were lined up on stage, then a curtain was raised in front of them, and an assistant beckoned them through a secret door. Immediately after, the participants were rushed down a narrow corridor to the other end of the theater, where they would magically reappear.

During the rush down the corridor, the plaintiff alleges that he tripped over construction debree, fell, and hit his head. As a result of the trip and fall, the 55-year-old audience participant suffered significant head, neck, and back injuries, that have necessitated extensive care and caused significant hardship, life disruption, and pain.

Generally, when an injury occurs as a result of negligence, as is being alleged here, a person is entitled to recover for their medical costs, and other losses, including lost wages, out of pocket expenses, as well as pain and suffering. However, Copperfield's attorneys are alleging that part of the plaintiff's injuries are due to a pre-existing condition. Nevertheless, the plaintiff, pre-existing condition or not, can still recover, and may even be able to recover more as a result of being considered an eggshell plaintiff.

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