Actor alleges injury, petitions for documents

Looks like litigation is the most tenacious baddie battling Spider-Man these days: An actor and stunt performer who appeared in “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark” has begun proceedings for legal action against the producers of the Broadway musical.

In a series of filings with the New York State Supreme Court, Richard Kobak, who performs under the name Joshua Kobak, alleges he was injured while performing in the show, and has petitioned “Spider-Man” producer 8 Legged Prods. to produce documents and other information relating to the injuries and to the computer program and apparatuses that control the show’s aerial stunts.

Kobak asserts that in December 2010 he suffered knee injuries — citing a .14 centimeter hole in his right knee and a .9 centimenter hole in his left — due to improperly adjusted rigging. During a separate performance in April 2011, he alleges, the computer-controlled rigging caused him to collide with a wall, striking him in the head and face. Incident resulted in two herniated discs, whiplash and a concussion, according to Kobak’s affidavit.

The “Spider-Man” cast has been no stranger to injuries, with a number of other thesps harmed, particularly during the show’s tumultuous preview period. Among those hurt were Natalie Mendoza, the actress originally cast in the role of villain Arachne, and Chirstopher Tierney, the stuntman whose fall into the orchestra — attributed to human error — made international news in December 2010.

Kobak was replacing Tierney in the sequence he claims injured his knees, with the harm blamed on a string of performances when the computerized rigging system was not properly programmed to take into account the weight difference between Tierney and Kobak. The filings also asserted the computer system was responsible for flinging Kobak into the wall in April 2011.

The legal action joins another outstanding dispute for “Spider-Man,” with producers battling co-creator/helmer Julie Taymor over copyright infringement. Another suit between Taymor and producers, regarding unpaid directing fees, has been settled.

“The producers have no comment on the matter except to wish Mr. Kobak, who is currently in the ‘American Idiot’ tour, well,” said a rep for “Spider-Man” in a statement.

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