Spinal Tap Bass Player Files Suit for Noise Violation

Posted on May 20, 2013 in Personal Injury

Harry Shearer

The members of satirical rock group Spinal Tap may have given up the loud music and the rock-and-roll lifestyle in recent years, New Orleans personal injury attorneys report. Harry Shearer, the band’s bass player, has recently filed a lawsuit against a disc jockey for noise violations stemming from a 2012 incident on a Mardi Gras float. According to his lawsuit, Shearer is pursuing restitution for the loss of hearing and livelihood he has suffered.

In his lawsuit, Shearer describes the incident that lead to his current hearing problems. At the 2012 Mardi Gras parade, Shearer was on the 85-foot-long Bacchawhoppa float, strapped into position directly in front of a loudspeaker. The loudspeaker, which was the property of Rock-it Productions Inc, pumped music at high decibels into Shearer’s left ear for “the duration of the parade, which lasted at least four hours, if not longer.” Shearer claims that he tried to move further away from the loudspeaker, but found himself unable to do so. He also asked the DJ to turn the volume down, or to give him a set of earplugs. The DJ did neither.

A year after the incident, Shearer claims that he still suffers from a “loud, persistent ringing in his ears.” Doctors have diagnosed him with tinnitus and measurable hearing loss in both ears. New Orleans personal injury lawyers report that the rock star’s lawsuit is seeking an unspecified amount of money in damages from Rock-it Productions Inc, the company that employs the DJ, and from two insurance firms to cover his medical expenses as well as his “loss of enjoyment and quality of life.”

In Louisiana, the laws governing negligence and personal injury state that businesses have a duty to take proper care regarding their product, and to protect consumers from harm. In his lawsuit, Shearer claims that Rock-it Productions Inc failed to maintain a safe environment by cranking up the volume on their loudspeakers for such a prolonged period of time.

Attorneys for the DJ and his company have countered Shearer’s claims, saying that the musician could reasonably have suffered hearing loss at any time during his career, including the concerts Spinal Tap performed after making their 1984 mockumentary, This is Spinal Tap. At their shows, the group used Marshall amplifiers cranked up to volume 11 for “that extra push over the cliff.” The defendants have pointed to this and other demonstrations of Spinal Tap’s loud performances as evidence that Shearer’s injuries could be caused by his “participation in various music endeavors.”

The defendants have also argued that Shearer should have expected loud music at the Mardi Gras festival, given that he chose to ride on one of the parade’s floats. But New Orleans personal injury lawyers say that expectation may not outweigh negligence, especially if Shearer tried to remove himself from the harmful circumstances. The musician’s lawsuit makes note of the fact that he suffered substantial losses to his hearing after the parade, not during his career as a bass player.

At New Orleans law firm Bloom Legal, Seth Bloom, a leading personal injury attorney, represents anyone seeking restitution for medical conditions or other lasting injuries that have been caused by negligence.

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