Blue Man Group Hit With Blue Ball Suit - Legally Weird
Legally Weird - The FindLaw Legal Curiosities Blog

Blue Man Group Hit With Blue Ball Suit

A Northern California man is suing the Blue Man Group for injuries allegedly sustained during one of the group's concerts in June 2011 when a plastic ball was launched into the audience.

Stan Michelman's suit alleges that during the blue trio's concert in San Francisco, "a large blue plastic or rubber like ball was thrown into the audience without warning to [Michelman]," which caused him "shock and injury to his nervous system," reports Marin Independent Journal.

This ballsy suit isn't the first time the Blue Man Group has faced lawsuits, but is it likely to succeed?

Follow the Bouncing Liability

The Blue Man Group is a musical/theatrical act which is well known for making music from unlikely objects (e.g. PVC pipes) and painting themselves blue. What they aren't well known for is injuring crowd members, which Michelman claims is due to the group's failure to notify patrons like him of the danger of projectile balls.

Pharmaceutical and consumer manufacturers are often held liable for not sufficiently warning customers of the potential dangers of their products, but this claim isn't often brought in a concert context.

Michelman's injuries seem to stem from "extend[ing] his left arm" to protect his face from the unexpected plastic ball hurtling toward him, reports the Marin Independent Journal.

Did Blue Man Group have a duty to Michelman to warn him ahead of time of the dangers of a ball hitting him? Probably not; the kind of danger Michelman is claiming from a toy plastic ball in the audience isn't reasonably foreseeable.

The group's track record in defending themselves from injury suits is pretty good as well. Their last big case involved an injury from insertion of an "esophagus cam" which was settled "for nominal dollars," reports the Independent Journal.

Suing the Blue Crew's Venue

Just in case Michelman doesn't collect from the Blue Man Group, he's also sued the S.F. venue that hosted the concert, likely under a theory of premises liability.

In cases where a physical feature of the venue causes an injury, like a loose floorboard or poorly secured metal scaffolding, the concert venue is more likely to be found at fault.

In this Blue Man Group concert case, however, it's unclear that the Golden Gate Theater had any knowledge of a dangerous ball stunt that might cause injury. To make matters worse, Michelman's attorney reportedly "blue it" by missing a court appearance and a filing deadline for his client in August.

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