A dancer was crushed by a mechanical tree while filming an advert for a “multiple award-winning” production company, London’s High Court heard on Thursday.
Keira Johnson, a performance artist who worked for the Royal Opera House, suffered serious back injuries after a tree mounted on a mechanical stump fell on her as she ran through the woods.
The Bath Dance College graduate from Oakhill, Somerset is now suing Adam and Eve DDB, the advertising agency that hired her, for £300,000.
Documents filed in the High Court on Thursday reveal that she had been hired to perform a scene in the woods in Poland alongside another performer.
The special effects teams had mounted trees on “a mechanical pivot or hinge” which would fall when triggered at the right time, giving viewers the impression that the pair were crashing through the forest.
Lawyers for Ms Johnson say she was left with ‘serious’ crushing injuries to her back after ‘a tree that was meant to fall via a special effects mechanism fell early’, crushing her.
Denies any responsibility
Adam and Eve DDB, while admitting that she suffered serious injuries on set, deny any responsibility to pay her compensation.
In the company’s defense, the lawyers say that while DDB hired her as “talent” for the film, it was not her employer and had nothing to do with setting up the shoot or designing it. , construction or operation of mechanical shafts.
Court documents say Ms Johnson was one of two artists who had been hired by DDB to star in the advert, which was due to be filmed in Warsaw last September.
DDB says that after signing the “talent” and designing the concept for the shoot, they handed it over to a “well-established, multi-award-winning film production company.”
Ms Johnson signed a contract under which she would be paid £350 a day for filming, plus a total of up to £38,000 if the finished product was shown on TV and used in a print campaign.
Attorney James Medd, for DDB, says the production company, which was not named in the documents, “controlled the filming of the scene and the plaintiff acted under (the production company’s) direction.”
The attorney goes on to say, “It is denied that the defendant had any relevant ‘level of control’ over the location of the filming or what was done there.”
DDB UK Limited is the sole defendant to the claim and the production company is not a party to the action.
The case continues.