UPDATED with latest: Former HBO executive Nancy Lesser settled her lawsuit alleging the producers of the 2016 Emmy Awards show at the Microsoft Theater and other parties were liable for serious injuries she suffered after falling near the red carpet.
Lesser, the former executive vice president of media and talent at HBO, left the cabler in October 2019. Her attorney filed court papers May 4 with Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Armen Tamzarian asking that the case be dismissed in the wake of the resolution. No terms were divulged.
Lesser brought her suit in November 2017 against 28 Awards Productions Inc., ABC Inc., the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, LA Live Theater LLC and LA Live Properties Inc. Lesser also sued the city of Los Angeles, but later dismissed the entity as a defendant.
Lesser said she fell on Sept. 18, 2016, as she was leaving the Microsoft Theater on a crowded walkway after the Emmys show to go to HBO’s after-party, which she had been charged with setting up, and instead ended up in the emergency room at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.
According to her court papers, she tripped on one of several dirt spaces with trees that lined one edge of the red carpet, which she says she never saw because of the conditions. She said she fell backward, landed on her right hip and fractured her pelvis and that she missed time from work while taking eight months to recuperate.
Her attorney and brother, Jeff Lesser, said previously that it was hard for his sister to move through the large crowd of people. He also said the lighting was poor and that safer conditions should have existed for the people leaving.
PREVIOUSLY in November 2017: Anyone who knows Nancy Lesser knows that HBO’s EVP of media and talent rarely makes a misstep. However, as a more than $1 million lawsuit filed yesterday makes clear, that literally was not the case on the night of the 2016 Emmys when the exec took a big fall outside the Microsoft Theatre that left her severely sidelined with a fractured pelvis and other injuries.
Now, in an injuries and negligence lawsuit before LA Superior Court, Lesser wants the TV Academy, the City of Los Angeles and the Anshultz Entertainment Group to pay up for the “dangerous condition” they created on the red carpet and exits at the venue.
“On September 18, 2016 at approximately 8:40 p.m. when plaintiff Lesser and her colleagues were leaving the Microsoft Theater leading to the Governor’s Ball and Gilbert Lindsay Plaza, and away from the Microsoft Theater, in a heavy throng of attendees, plaintiff was caused to trip or slip and fall due to her stepping into a dirt cut-out space in the concrete not visible to her or anyone in the throng walking from the Microsoft Theater, which stepping into the dirt in the cutout in the concrete caused plaintiff to fall directly backwards, land on her right hip and, in doing so, suffer and sustain at least three fractures of the pelvis, a possible coccyx fracture, and other injuries, all the direct result of the sudden falling backwards directly onto the concrete,” says the 15-page complaint that details how a very banged up Lesser was off work for eight months, spent months more recovering and racked up medical bills of over $1 million (read it here).
“These concrete cut-outs with dirt and trees, the poor lighting of the area and the creation of a throng of people overloading the walkway that the attendees were directed to were each a dangerous condition created by defendants and each by themselves, and together, caused plaintiffs accident to occur,” the filing by lawyer Jeff A Lesser of Encino adds.
As those of us who know the always well put together Lesser can gather, this situation, which saw her at Cedars Sinai for two weeks at first, was a real blow also because of the work she put in putting the premium cabler’s Emmy party together than night a year and a bit ago. The legal move also comes after the City of L.A. on August 1 this year rejected the claim Lesser filed with the metropolis this spring.
In this complaint, the savvy exec also makes sure she has a big more wiggle room moving forward. “As a direct and proximate result of the negligence of defendants and each of them, plaintiff further sustained damages through loss of income and earnings in that she was unable for almost one year after the accident to perform her duties and responsibilities as required by her being an Executive Vice President of Media and Talent Relations for HBO, the exact amount is not currently known to plaintiff who, therefore, reserves the right to amend this Complaint when the same has been determined,” the filing asserts.
Cause that’s how you play the game of thrones.
The TV Academy did not respond to request for comment from Deadline on the complaint.