A railing too low to be safe contributed to the fall of a man from an upper balcony at the Hollywood Palladium during a Blink 182 concert in 2013, leaving him with severe injuries that have hampered his ability to resume his music-related career, a lawyer told a jury Tuesday.
Attorney Debra Chang told jurors hearing opening statements in trial of Aaron Rubin’s Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit that the 36 1/2-food railing that her client tumbled over was not sufficiently high to prevent most men from falling over it in certain conditions.
Rubin, who is about 6 feet tall and weighs about 260 pounds, fell several feet to the floor below during a frenzied encore performance of “Dammit” by Blink 182, Chang said.
But attorney Michael Schonbuch, on behalf of defendants Live Nation Worldwide Inc. and CH Palladium LLC, said Rubin, then 33, fell and was injured due to his own reckless behavior. Schonbuch alleged that Chang, in her opening statement, changed the version of events about how her client fell because the first one that had been used for years made no sense.
Schonbuch said three young women who attended the concert saw Rubin run down a set of stairs, bump into them and then appear to jump over the railing. Schonbuch said it will be up to jurors to decide whether the trio’s testimony is what actually happened.
Rubin’s wife, Anya, and brother, Nine Inch Nails drummer Ilan Rubin, are also plaintiffs in the case. Ilan Rubin, 30, alleges negligent infliction of emotional distress and Anya Rubin, 32, alleges loss of consortium. Both were with Aaron Rubin at the concert on Nov. 7, 2013.
CH Palladium owns the Palladium and Live Nation is a tenant.
According to Chang, Ilan Rubin had performed with Nine Inch Nails on “The Jimmy Kimmel Show” earlier that day and went with his brother to see Blink 192 afterward. Aaron Rubin had a working relationship with Blink 182 singer Tom DeLonge, who helped found the band and has since left the group, according to Chang.
Chang said the crowd grew to a frenzy when Blink 182 began performing “Dammit” and within 20 seconds, Aaron Rubin got up and walked toward the railing, tumbling over it and falling on his face below. He suffered a brain injury and numerous other physical problems that have put in limits on his once-active career, Chang said.
Chang said that if the railing was about 42 inches high, it would likely have prevented Aaron Rubin from falling over it while also making it safer for most men more than 5 feet, 6 inches tall.
Chang showed footage of the fall from Live Nation security cameras. She said a Live Nation contract employee had predicted such an accident could happen because standing-room-only patrons were allowed to be present in the upper level and many gathered next to the railing.
Chang also showed jurors footage of the opening night of the Palladium in 1940, when Frank Sinatra was listed second on the billboard to the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra. She said Live Nation spent millions of dollars renovating the venue in 2007-08.
Schonbuch countered that the railing height was in full compliance with the law and that it was permitted so as not to block the view of seated guests. He said the contract employee referred to by Chang was a disgruntled worker who no longer does the same job he did that night.
As for Aaron Rubin’s behavior before the fall, he had been drinking alcohol and one of the young women said he looked like he was “insane,” according to Schonbuch.
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