Stage Dive Injury Will Cost Fishbone $1.4 Mil.
(CN) - Members of ska fusion band Fishbone owe nearly $1.4 million to a woman whose skull and clavicle fractured when the lead singer dove into the crowd, a federal judge ruled.
The dispute stems from a show Fishbone played at Philadelphia's World Cafe Live on Feb. 23, 2010, according to the Feb. 12 ruling.
When the L.A.-based band's lead singer, Angelo Moore, dove into the crowd, Kimberly Myers, a mother of three from Voorhees, N.J., hit her head on the floor and lost consciousness.
Moore and Fisher kept performing as if nothing had happened.
Myers, now 46, was later found to have broken her skull, eardrum and clavicle, and has since suffered from hair loss, joint pain and autoimmune disorders, which have led to lupus.
She has also undergone surgeries costing about $16,000 - including breast-reduction to lower the pressure on her shoulder - leaving her scarred and unable to move normally.
Though album covers and T-shirts show that Fishbone has been "stage diving" since the 1980s, Myers was not even aware that the band was lined up to play the night she was injured.
Moore noted in deposition that he values the "theatrics" or "spontaneity" of stage diving and has no time to cloud his mind with thoughts of audience safety, according to the ruling.
The singer also said that the authenticity of his "performance is cramped" by his concern that "predators" purposely lurk in the crowd in hopes of suing the band for their injuries.
Myers had sued Moore and his band, along with bass player John Norwood Fisher, Silverback Artist Management, the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania, Behind Closed Doors Touring, and the venue's owner and lessee in 2010.
The complaint asserted claims for civil conspiracy, assault and battery, negligence in producing the show and failing to warn the audience that it would feature stage diving,.
Myers' future medical costs are estimated at more than $350,000.
After Myers settled with several defendants, she refiled her claims against the musicians on Feb. 3, 2012. They never responded, however, and the court entered default against them this past April.
Moore and Fisher also skipped a hearing on May 6, and U.S. District Judge Jan DuBois entered judgment for Myers last week, awarding her nearly $1.4 million in damages.
Though the court dismissed the claims against Fishbone itself for lack of prosecution, Moore must pay $250,000 in punitive damages, according to the ruling.
"Moore, who refused to answer questions at his deposition regarding his use of illicit drugs on the date of the incident in question, intentionally dove from an elevated stage despite knowing that stage diving in and of itself poses a serious risk of harm to audience members," DuBois wrote. "Further, Moore exhibits little remorse or impetus to change his conduct. Moore continues to stage dive at almost every performance and exhibits nothing but apathy and [in]hospitality towards his victims, whom he repeatedly characterized, during his deposition, as 'predators' out to steal his money."
In addition to compensating Myers for her current and future medical expenses, the judge awarded the plaintiff $750,000 for her inability to raise her children or perform her job as before.
"Plaintiff's injuries are severe and have caused her constant pain and permanent damage, including permanent hearing loss and cognitive difficulties," DuBois wrote. "Plaintiff has undergone three surgeries for her clavicle injury, which have left her with unsightly scars, and she plans to undergo, in the near future, a fourth surgery to treat her thoracic outlet syndrome. Plaintiff's other injuries, many of which are expected to be permanent, have similarly necessitated significant medical treatment, led to considerable embarrassment, and interfered with her activities of daily living and her ability to enjoy life's pleasures."