Producers JD Roth and Todd Nelson are among the defendants in a wrongful death complaint filed today. They join Van Nuys Copters, Crossbow Helicopters, Orbic Air and several others in the filing (read it here) by Jerie S. Rydstrom, mother of deceased cameraman Darren Rydstrom. He, pilot David Gibbs and cast member Michael Donatelli were killed when their helicopter crashed early on February 10 during filming of a Discovery Channel reality show.
The trio died after being thrown from the copter in an open field at the Polsa Rosa Ranch in Acton. They were shooting a then untitled military show being produced for Discovery Channel by Roth and Nelson’s Eyeworks USA (formerly 3 Ball Prods.). The partners have served as EPs on Biggest Loser as well on other reality series such as Splash and the recently returned Extreme Weight Loss. The suit alleges that pilot Gibbs was not “competent, qualified and sufficiently informed for the flight” for a scene for the show. “As a direct result of the negligent and careless conduct of the above-named defendants, and each of them, Plaintiffs decedent, Darren Arthur Rydstrom, suffered injuries that proved to be fatal”. The suit says damages should be determined by the court but should include loss of support, property losses, emotional distress, and burial and funeral expenses, among other things. Rydstrom requests a 10-day jury trial. The plaintiff is represented by Walter Lack and Elizabeth Crooke of Engstrom, Lipscomb & Lack.