Friday, July 18, 2014

Back to Court for the “Greatest Show in Court”? Recovering Ringling "Hairialists" Hire Attorneys ... Lawsuits Loom over Failed Rigging

From July 18, 2014

After the fall, yesterday, far from full recovery:  Dayana Costa, right, tearfully reads a statement to the press at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital.  AP photo.

Back before a judge or jury may go “The Greatest Show in Court.”  That’s what Feld Entertainment calls itself these days, gloating in the wake of its big Pay Day victory against animal rights groups that had smeared it  for years with fraudulent Tim Rider testimony.

But now, the show may not be so happy about a return engagement to court, or look so well when four of the eight aerialists who performed a spectacular hair hanging stunt, still recovering from a fall on May 4, when the rigging from which they hung betrayed them, consider taking legal action for damages.  The four have hired attorneys and are talking to Big Media.

Investigation of the rigging continues.  Evidence so far suggests that, indeed, it was a critical component of the rigging that broke apart, leading to the shocking descent of all eight aerialists to the floor of an arena in Provedance, Rhode Island, wittinesed  by 3,900  stunned spectators.

The entire incident,  as previously speculated here, may be history making.  When has an aerial apparatus of this complexity broken apart -- or simply collapsed to the ground?  Luckily, nobody, from what we know, was seriously injured.  But that story, too, is yet to be fully told.

Among major network reporting, this morning on CBS, one of the performers was quoted as saying she once dreamed of being “a star performer.”

Now, she just dreams of getting out of her wheel chair and walking again.

A sobering account, compared to earlier reports alluding to good recoveries for all.

Thanks to Don Covington, who contributed to this report.



Harry Kingston said...

It will be something to see how this plays out in a settlement or the courts.
The performers sues Ringling then Ringling sues the company that made the part that fails.
In an interview Johnny Pugh said when you get a person hurt on the circus you might as well leave the country.
Some one is going to get there pound of flesh.
Harry in Texas

Showbiz David said...


My guess is that Feld will settle as fast as they can, to avoid a trial.

Can you recall in your lifetime seeing or hearing of a rigging (trapeze, high wire. etc.) collapsing to the ground? I can't.

Harry Kingston said...

Yes, not really but years ago we were on Carson and Barnes when Dorey had 3 flying acts and abnd one bar came loose and eh guy fell in the net.
I bet it was wired with wire that came off the hay bale,lol
Harry in Texas

Showbiz David said...

That's probably as severe as it gets. I know Leitzel fell in Copenhagen,owing to a part of her rigging crystallizing.

Hay bale wire, HaHa!

I loved some of those salty old five-ring shows Dory produced, loaded with messy action, a fair share of good acts, the seat wagons of various shapes and modes a display unto themselves.

Harry Kingston said...

I also like those 5 ring displays in that tunnel of a bigtop.
But it was all circus and plenty of it with a live band etc.
I was a young circus fan back then and it played Beaumont where I live and my Dad unlike me could care less about a circus.
He came to the lot and met D. R. Miller and D. R. told him your son is manager for the day. Well I was on cloud nine.
David I wish we could turn back the clock all the circus people we both have met though the years.
And you got to meet and interview John Ringling North.
I would have liked to have met Aet Concello, a true genius of the circus world.
Harry in Texas