A California-based production company is being sued for negligence after a stuntman says he lost his leg while filming a blockbuster motion picture.
Maryland resident Shamar Parker, who doubled for Will Smith in ‘Bad Boys For Life,’ filed a lawsuit on March 12 in a Georgia federal court for the stunt-gone-wrong. He’s accusing Columbia Pictures Industries Inc., 2.0 Entertainment Financing LLC, a stunt coordinator and a special effects coordinator of multiple acts of negligence.
The stuntman is seeking unspecified punitive damages for lost wages and pain and suffering.
The suit is being handled in Georgia since a “substantial” part of the filming happened in that state.
According to court documents, Parker started performing stunts at the age of 21 in 2009, and when an opportunity arose in 2019 to be a stunt double for Will Smith in ‘Bad Boys For Life,’ he accepted.
“In one particular scene, Parker, who performed the stunt on behalf of, and to prevent injury to, actor Will Smith, was to drive a motorcycle with an attached sidecar occupied by a passenger down the road and engage the front brake to elevate the back tires off the ground, simulating the impact of a nearby grenade explosion,” the complaint states.
However, it didn’t work as originally planned — Parker wasn’t able to get the back tires off the ground “due to the weight of the sidecar and passenger” — and the coordinators had to make some special changes and incorporate a hydraulic lift into the complex stunt to make it work.
The complaint alleges this particular feature “created an unreasonably dangerous condition,” as well as:
- “Defendants knew or should have known that using the hydraulic lift system… would cause the motorcycle to become unstable when elevated because of the unbalanced weight…”
- “Defendants knew or should have known that adding too much pressure to the hydraulic lift system, as designed and fabricated, was certain to create excessive force that would concentrate all of the weight of the motorcycle, sidecar, and passengers on the front tire, and cause an uncontrollable weight distribution that would result in a crash”
- “Despite the unreasonable danger inherent in the flawed stunt, defendants failed to provide Parker with appropriate protective gear…”
After two takes of the stunt were accomplished “without incident,” one of the defendants added “a special amount” of additional pressure to the hydraulic system for a “special effect”– an effect that ended up pumping out too much power and led to a crash with Parker behind the wheel and another person in the sidecar, according to the complaint. Both people were seriously injured.
Parker was hospitalized with “especially severe injuries” for several weeks. He ultimately had to have his leg amputated below the knee after it failed to heal over a year.
After the wreck, the production company ended up making “simple by necessary modifications” to the motorcycle stunt rig “to prevent the risk of serious injury to the driver that replaced Parker.”
He says he’s lost wages as a direct result of the crash, incurred stacks of medical bills and been through “unnecessary trouble and expense” as a result of the California company and defendants.