Paramount was slapped with a lawsuit today on behalf of 24-year-old Gabriela Cedillo, the extra on the Transformers 3 set who was badly injured in an accident during filming last month and now is permanently disfigured and disabled. The lawsuit alleges negligence that resulted in brain damage. She was seriously hurt during one of the action shots on location in Hammond, Indiana, for the upcoming Michael Bay threequel. Bay is not a defendant in the lawsuit, but D.W. Productions and Film Industry Location Management Services and the individual location managers Allen Nolan-Cohn, Nick Rafferty, and Nick Jamison.
In response to the lawsuit, Paramount issued this statement:
We are all terribly sorry that this accident occurred. Our thoughts, prayers and best wishes are with Gabriela, her family and loved ones. The production will continue to provide all the help we can to Gabriela and her family during this difficult time.
Paramount told me back on September 3rd that the injured extra was not involved in the stunt, that her car was not involved in the stunt, and that a “freak accident caused her injury”: that she and her car were more than 500 feet from the stunt, that she was struck by a flying metal object whose welding had come apart and not by a steel towing cable, that the stunt from Tuesday had to be repeated Wednesday because of a “timing issue” and not because it had failed, and that “nobody has done movies more safely than Michael Bay”. The studio, however, could not explain why its version of events was so at odds with the local police and media reports.
But now, Cedillo’s guardian presents their version of what happened. They say the defendants owed “a duty of care to properly train and safeguard ‘extras’ on the filming”. They say the studio required certain extras to utilize their own cars. The lawsuit claims that Cedillo was driving her own 2006 Toyota while stunt vehicles were being towed by trucks in the opposite lanes at high speeds. One of the cables and a welded bracket from a stunt car came loose and hit Cedillo’s hood and windshield, and later her head. After it was struck, Cedillo’s auto crashed into an inner median concrete barrier wall and traveled for about a mile before stopping. The lawsuit challenges all the defendants’ safety precautions (or lack thereof) surrounding the stunt and extra. Read the entire lawsuit here.