SETH ROSENBERG OBTAINS $4.5 MILLION JURY VERDICT AGAINST EDM DJ SKRILLEX

A Los Angeles jury on Nov. 20 awarded Jennifer Fraissl $4.5 million in damages against DJ and producer Skrillex (real name Sonny John Moore), his touring company, Lost Boys Touring Company, Inc., and the Belasco Theater in Los Angeles.

Fraissl alleged that on February 11, 2012, Skrillex stage dove at the end of his set, causing her to be struck in the back of her head and neck. Although she was unaware of it at the time, the blow caused her to suffer a rare vertebral artery dissection, followed by a catastrophic stroke 16 days later.

The jury voted 12-0, finding all defendants negligent and responsible for Fraissl’s stroke.  The jury found Skrillex 35 percent responsible, Lost Boys Touring, Inc. 40 percent responsible, and the Belasco Theater 10 percent liable.  The jury awarded Fraissl $4.5 million in damages, which will be reduced to over $3.8 million because the jury found Fraissl 15 percent at fault. 

Fraissl was represented by Seth I. Rosenberg of Emergent LLP, and B. Mark Fong of Minami Tamaki LLP. Fraissl’s attorneys believe this is the first successful jury award in a case involving injuries resulting from a performer’s crowd dive.

Fraissl’s case faced numerous obstacles, including asking the jury to find the defendants liable for a blow that could not be seen on videos of the show, and which occurred in a setting where many people assume stage diving occurs. Fraissl’s attorneys also had to convince the jury that her stroke being caused by the blow to her head two weeks earlier was not only possible, but probable. Ultimately, credible expert and lay witnesses, plus a remarkably effective trial presentation prevailed.

“Skrillex caused Jennifer Fraissl to be injured, and the jury saw past his celebrity and wealth to hold him and the other defendants responsible,” said Rosenberg. “We presented a common-sense case despite attempts by the Skrillex team to blame the victim.”

Fraissl’s attorneys called experts from fields such as vascular neurology, interventional neuroradiology, security, and biomechanics to explain the complexity of arterial dissections and stroke, as well as crowd dynamics during a stage dive.

“Jennifer Fraissl showed that when the truth is on your side, David can beat Goliath,” said Fong. “We’re glad Jennifer persevered through this six-year-long case and are thankful to the jury and the judge for a fair and impartial trial.”

Jennifer Fraissl was represented by attorneys Seth I. Rosenberg of Emergent LLP and B. Mark Fong of Minami Tamaki LLP, and paralegal Brian Edgar, also of Minami Tamaki LLP.

The three battled a small army from international law firm Baker McKenzie, including five attorneys, a dedicated technology specialist, substantial litigation support, and endless resources.  The trial took five weeks and the jury deliberated for two days.

The jury voted 12-0, finding all defendants negligent and responsible for Fraissl’s stroke.  The jury found Skrillex 35 percent responsible, Lost Boys Touring, Inc. 40 percent responsible, and the Belasco Theater 10 percent liable.  The jury awarded Fraissl $4.5 million in damages, which will be reduced to over $3.8 million because the jury found Fraissl 15 percent at fault. 

Rosenberg: “We won this trial for three reasons. First, Jennifer. She is a wonderful person and a terrific witness – credible, likeable and vulnerable. Second, Skrillex and the defendants misevaluated the evidence from the beginning.  And, third, we tried a heck of a case.  Our theme was ‘common sense’ and it resonated with the jury.”

Fraissl’s attorneys called experts from fields such as vascular neurology, interventional neuroradiology, security, and biomechanics to explain the complexity of arterial dissections and stroke, as well as crowd dynamics during a stage dive.

Rosenberg, Fong, and Edgar effectively neutralized defense experts through dynamic cross examinations, even discrediting world-renowned experts on their presentations and demonstratives. 

While an appeal is always possible, trial judge Daniel S. Murphy effectively and efficiently made trial rulings such that success on an appeal is highly unlikely.

After the verdict, Skrillex’s attorney immediately resorted to “blaming the victim” and calling into question how the jury could find for Plaintiff based on the evidence.

Fong: “Being on the losing end is never easy, but we have all been there and it is always best to face those moments with class and grace.  Counsel’s comments about Jennifer and the trial after the verdict only illustrates that defendants never truly appreciated the evidence or Jennifer.”

Email or call Seth (seth@emergent.law | (415) 894-9284 x104) or contact us to learn more about how Emergent LLP is helping clients navigate the field of complex litigation.