David Copperfield, probably the most famous magician in the world, is being sued for negligence.
58-year-old British tourist Gavin Cox says he was injured during Copperfield’s “Lucky number 13” trick at MGM Grand Las Vegas in November 2013.
The vanishing act, which the magician has performed for at least a decade, involves 13 audience members who are brought on stage to sit and have a curtain drawn around them.
A few minutes later Copperfield pulls the curtain away revealing that the 13 audience members have disappeared. The famed magician then points to the back of the room where the 13 volunteers “magically” reappear.
The plaintiff, Gavin Cox, claims that as soon as the curtain was drawn around them, staff guided them off the stage through a series of dark passageways that eventually lead the group to the back of the room.
Cox says these passageways were filled by dust and debris, and it was so dark he ended up falling to the ground, hitting his head and dislocating his shoulder. He claims he has suffered since then from chronic pain, his medical bills amount to more than US $400,000 dollars and states doctors found a lesion in his brain.
Copperfield’s lawyers didn’t want the secret revealed to the public, arguing such a revelation would hurt the magician financially.
The judge disagreed, stating the thousands of people who have participated in the trick over the years already knew the secret, thus, he felt it’s actually not a secret anymore.
Copperfield’s executive producer, Chris Kenner, revealed to jurors the mystery behind “Lucky number 13”, giving the judges and the small audience in the courtroom a rare behind-the-scenes look at the signature illusion.
After the randomly chosen audience members are placed in chairs on stage and the curtain is rolled to hide them, stagehands with flashlights rush the volunteers down through an intricate path to the back of the theatre that takes them through passageways, around corners, and through an MGM Grand resort kitchen.
“Is that route an obstacle course?” asked Benedict Morelli, Gavin Cox’s lawyer.
Cox and his wife, Minh-Hahn Cox, are seeking an unspecified amount in damages.
Copperfield is expected to continue testifying on Tuesday. Both the magician and MGM, who is acting as defendant in the lawsuit, claim the passages were clear.