A judge has scheduled a trial date in the civil case against two members of the show and movie series Jackass. Air traffic controller Michael Vicéns-Segura has sued cast members Stephen Gilchrest Glover (a.k.a. Steve-O) and Chris Pontius, saying they caused him a near-fatal head injury during a botched “Jet Ski Tug of War” stunt.
The defendants assert the plaintiff put himself in the position where he got hurt. Jurors will have to decide which side they believe in trial proceedings set for March 7, 2023. A “pretrial/settlement conference” is scheduled for Feb. 21.
Shortly after his current counsel filed an amended complaint, Vicéns-Segura appeared in a video of the incident published to YouTube on Feb. 2. He was at a marina on March 11, 2018 in Rincón, Puerto Rico, where a person he knew asked for his jet ski to use for a production. Vicéns-Segura said he recognized Steve-O and Pontius.
As part of the stunt, Steve-O and Pontius rode away from each other on separate jet skis, tied together by a bungee cord. But during the stunt, the cord snapped. It struck Vicéns-Segura, who was in the water between the two watercraft, in the head.
Plaintiff attorney John M. Phillips posted videos of the incident to YouTube. You can watch below.
Pontius was also struck during the stunt, but it was Vicéns-Segura who described having a life-changing injury. Though he appeared conscious when back on land, he said he felt a “crazy incredible pain” and nausea.
“Every minute that went on, the confusion grew, the pain grew,” he said. “I could tell in the eyes of the doctors that something seriously was wrong.” He remembered telling people “Take the pressure out of my head,” he said, “You need to take the pressure out of my head.” Everything went dark when he was put on a stretcher and taken to the ambulance, he said.
He said he suffered brain bleeding, a blood clot in his brain, a C5/C6 herniated disk, and damaged nerves from his neck to his arms, which especially caused trouble using his right hand in the beginning. He said he required plastic surgery to his ear. Doctors performed a craniotomy on him to get the blood out.
Vicéns-Segura said he was prescribed 1,000 milligrams of the anti-convulsive Keppra. While on it, he suddenly had disturbing thoughts, he said.
“I’m ashamed to say it, but I remember I was in my room being taken care of and I remember planning to murder my wife and my mom,” he said. “I don’t know why I thought about that. We called the doctor, and he took me off those meds.”
Speaking and thinking became very difficult, he said. The injury stood in the way of his career as an air traffic controller, he said. He lacked the medical certificate to be an air traffic controller, he added.
“I don’t even know if I’m going to be able to pay the school, my bills next month,” Vicéns-Segura said. “That’s the reality that I live and that’s been the reality since the day of the accident.”
Judge Jay A. Garcia-Gregory rejected the plaintiff team’s amended complaint Aug. 18, 2022, saying too much time passed since the original 2019 lawsuit. They failed to justify issuing another complaint after all this time, the judge said, according to online records.
In the answer to the original complaint, Pontius’ counsel argued that Vicens-Segura put himself in that position. From documents:
Plaintiff, who was actively participating in the stunt development, voluntarily got into the water to hold both jet skis in position because the tide was causing them to bump with each other; Pontius did not ask the Plaintiff to do so. The scene was practiced once without any incidents, but while the scene was being filmed, the bungee cord snapped off Glover’s harness, hitting both Pontius and Plaintiff. No one had asked Plaintiff to get into the water and remain there while the scene was being filmed. He remained in the water willingly and at his own risk, even after the production crew had asked everybody to clear the area for the filming of the scene
The answer from Steve-O’s representation said much the same:
Subject to and without waving the Affirmative Defenses below, Defendants affirmatively state that they did not ask Plaintiff to disbar his jet-ski, but Plaintiff decided to disbar his jet-ski to prevent the jet-skis from bumping to each other. Furthermore, Defendants affirmatively state that Mr. Glover specifically requested that Plaintiff “get out of the way to clear the shot,” which Plaintiff ignored. Case 3:19-cv-01189-JAG Document 55 Filed 02/18/20 Page 3 of 19
Read the documents below:
[Screenshot via John M. Phillips]
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