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Will Cirque du Soleil face litigation for performer's death?

The tragic death of a Cirque du Soleil aerialist back in June was something many of our readers won’t soon forget. Considered to be the first death during a performance in Cirque’s 29-year history, the death of the 31-year-old certainly brought up question of performer safety and whether the production company and MGM Grand, where the show is currently performed, were negligent in the performer’s death.

That question appears to finally have been answered late last month when Nevada’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced that it was issuing fines to Cirque and the MGM Grand for the work-related accident. According to investigators, the wire rope from which the aerialist had been suspended is said to have rubbed against something sharp. This caused the rope to snap, causing her to plummet several feet into a pit below the stage.

But while the two companies are facing serious fines that suggest negligence to some extent, this may not be enough closure for the 31-year-old’s family. As with any wrongful death case here in Illinois, the victim’s family may want to hold Cirque and MGM responsible for their negligence in this work accident. And while the companies could face litigation with OSHA, they could also face civil litigation from the family as well.

Though it’s unknown if the family intends on taking legal action in this case, it’s worth noting that the family does have the right to seek compensation if they so choose. Cirque may have failed to properly train the aerialist prior to performing in the show and MGM may not have provided a safe enough environment for performers. As we said before, this could suggest negligence, something that is quite integral in most wrongful death cases.

Source: Los Angeles Times, "Cirque du Soleil and MGM Grand cited in death of Vegas performer," Matt Pearce, Oct. 29, 2013

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