Superman's Hairstylist Sues for Damages

January 28, 2013

The woman who styled Superman's hair in the upcoming movie Man of Steel has filed a lawsuit for damages, claiming she was injured on the movie set as the result of her job. The hairstylist was asked to walk across a set to fix an actor's hair during filming; the set was full of rubble and presented a "hazardous walking surface" according to the plaintiff's claim. She fell and injured herself and is now suing Warner Bros. for damages.

Superman's Hair Can Be Dangerous!

According to Cheryl Pickenback, the key hairstylist for Man of Steel, she was instructed to cross a set in Plano, Illinois, that had been made to appear full of rubble for an upcoming shot. She was asked to walk out onto the set to address hair issues with one of the actors. As she attempted to cross the set, she slipped and fell on the rubble, resulting in severe injuries that necessitated surgery and other treatments. Her suit alleges that Warner Bros., Third Act Pictures and Legendary Pictures failed to provide a safe working environment and that this negligence led to her injuries. The suit has been removed to federal court to encompass set manager James McAllister, who claims he had no role in the Illinois set's configuration or safety protocols.

Slip-and-Fall Incidents Can Lead To Serious Injuries

Ms. Pickenback's suit is not uncommon, as thousands of people are injured in slip-and-fall incidents every year. Most slip-and-fall lawsuits are based on the property owner's negligence in failing to provide a safe walking environment. Property owners are required by law to address issues that could result in injury to others. For example, stores are required to clean spills that could lead to falls by customers walking through aisles. Property owners have also been sued for their failure to address sidewalk or driveway issues that led to falls.

Workplaces in particular are held to a high standard of safety. If a workplace purposely creates a hazardous environment, as may have happened in this case, then orders and employee to cross this dangerous area, the resulting damages could be attributed to negligence by the employer.

Will Movie Makers Be Held Liable?

On the other hand, employers may not be held liable for damages in certain cases if the judge deems that the hazardous conditions were a necessary part of the work environment. In this case, the plaintiff may have to show that she was ordered to cross an unsafe set location and that she feared for her job if she refused to comply. This would address the issue of her right to refuse to enter an unsafe area and could mean that the defendants would be liable for damages.

Job injury attorneys will be watching this case carefully as it develops to determine if the courts uphold the victim's right to collect damages for an inherently unsafe work environment. If so, the victim may be able to recover damages for her medical bills, pain and suffering, and other costs.

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