It was announced today that Paramount has reached an $18.5 million settlement with Gabriella Cedillo, the extra who suffered a severe head trauma on the set of the Transformers 3 film on September 1, 2010. The victim’s attorney accused Paramount of doing “everything they could to avoid payment”. A source tells Deadline that the lawsuit filed in October 2010 would have gone on longer if Michael Bay’s name hadn’t been thrown into the legal mix. But the possibility that the director and his Platinum Dunes production company suddenly were to be pulled in as defendants apparently lit a fire under Paramount to speed a settlement. Today’s news comes after a year and a half of legal maneuvering, including attempts by the studio to move the case from Illinois to California, as well one already failed mediation. Then Paramount approached Cedillo’s attorneys early this year seeking a second mediation. It took just a couple more meetings between the lawyers for the settlement to be reached in late March. But it took up until today for all the paperwork to get finalized, and for Cedillo’s attorney to present the deal to the judge. “We are pleased that the Cedillo family has agreed to move forward with the settlement. This was a tragic accident and our thoughts and prayers remain with Gabriela,” a Paramount spokesperson said today.
Cedillo was represented by Todd A. Smith and Brian LaCien of Chicago’s Power Rogers & Smith. She was struck in the head by a metal bracket that broke loose off the cable holding a stunt car on the Transformers 3 set in Hammond, Indiana, during an explosion scene. The bracket flew through the window of Cedillo’s car, which she was driving as an extra, and hit her. It was revealed after the fact that the stunt had failed the day before and that the production did not have the correct permits for explosive devices on the day of Cedillo’s accident. According to a statement from Cedillo’s lawyer Smith, Paramount promised immediately after to take care of all of the medical bills and care for the disfigured and brain injured Cedillo, but “in reality, they did everything they could to avoid payment”.