Oscar-nominated actress Rosie Perez has filed a personal injury lawsuit against the producers of the NBC police procedural "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" for an injury she sustained while filming a guest role on a 2009 episode of the show. The role included a scene in which she was shaken violently by another actor, and Perez says that she suffered a serious, permanent neck injury as a result.
Although Perez was hurt on the job, the legal rules for injury compensation are somewhat different for those in the performing arts. In this case, Perez is not filing a workers' compensation claim. She claims that the producers' negligence in designing and filming the scene is the cause of her injuries.
According to the lawsuit, Perez was "negligently, carelessly, violently and recklessly pulled, grabbed, yanked, wrenched and/or manhandled" while filming the 2009 episode, which was titled "Hardwired." Typically, action scenes are carefully choreographed in order to minimize the risk of injury to the performers.
After this shoot, however, Perez discovered she had sustained "two slipped discs, one bulge, three sprained ligaments, and a pinched nerve, which resulted in minor nerve damage," according to news reports after her injuries became obvious to the public. She is said to have undergone bone marrow surgery to treat aspects of her neck injury.
Last summer, Perez was invited to attend an event at the White House. She appeared in a wheelchair and was wearing a neck brace and told reporters that she had been injured on the set of "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit."
The personal injury lawsuit names as defendants the production companies Northern Entertainment Productions and DDF Films, which apparently both do business as "Wolf Films," which co-produces all of NBC's "Law & Order" series.
The companies referred requests for comment to a spokesperson for NBCUniversal, who declined to comment on the case.