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Storm Chaser Sues The Weather Channel

DALLAS (CN) - A producer for The Weather Channel was seriously injured when a tornado flipped over his car during a storm chase, the man claims in court.

Robert Austin Anderson, of Austin, sued channel parent The Weather Company, Comcast Corp., NBC Universal, The Blackstone Group, and Bain Capital on Feb. 6 in Federal Court.

Anderson says he was hired to produce, drive and act as a second camera operator for the channel's 2013 tornado hunt team. He says he was instructed to drive a 2013 GMC Yukon XL from Kansas to Oklahoma on May 31, 2013, when the storm hit.

"Prior to the incident, an engineer named Kevin Parrish, employed and/or directed to by NBC News, disengaged the airbag systems on the rental vehicle which was being used," the complaint states. "The occupant protection safety systems that were built into the vehicle were, in essence, destroyed."

Anderson says the defendants should have known he was placed "in harm's way without the benefit of the vehicle's crashworthiness safety systems." He says they should have informed him of "the known and/or foreseeable dangers."

"One or more of the defendants were negligent in not providing roll cages or reinforced roof structure vehicles," the complaint states. "One or more of the defendants were negligent in not providing crash safety protections equipment such as HANS devices, helmets or spine protection."

Weather Channel spokesman David Blumenthal said the company does not comment on pending litigation.

Anderson seeks damages for negligence and pain and suffering. He is represented by E. Todd Tracy in Dallas.

Follow @davejourno
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