SANTA FE — A Los Angeles-based cameraman who was seriously hurt during the filming of a star-studded movie near Los Alamos three years ago has filed a lawsuit over his injuries.
A “mobile camera crane unit,” weighing over 3,000 pounds when fully loaded, with cameraman James Razo behind the wheel tipped over and fell on top of Razo as he was driving up Pajarito Mountain on a steep road during shooting of “Only the Brave,” starring Josh Brolin and Jeff Bridges, in June 2016, according to a lawsuit filed in Santa Fe District Court this week.
Razo, who was knocked unconscious, had to be airlifted to University of New Mexico Hospital and suffered spinal cord damage that “severely limit his life activities,” the lawsuit states. He is seeking damages for lost wages as well as for pain and emotional distress.
The suit says Razo was denied time to scout the terrain or install tank treads on the vehicle he was driving before the climb.
No Exit Film, LLC and Black Label Media, Los Alamos Ski Club, Pajarito Recreation, Duke Wildfire and Land Management and Brian Henington are listed as defendants. Tom Long, general manager at Pajarito Mountain, said he didn’t want provide a comment Thursday. No one from Black Label Media or No Exit Film could be reached.
Henington, who operates Duke Wildfire and Land Management, was hired as the safety director for the movie, the lawsuit says. He could not be reached Thursday.
According to the lawsuit, Razo was hired for the movie four days before the accident and made the drive from Los Angeles to Santa Fe with film equipment, including the mobile camera crane unit.
Razo arrived at Pajarito the morning of June 20, 2016 after was asked to be at the top of the mountain with his crane unit. Razo asked to scout the terrain for safety or install the tank treads on the mobile crane but was denied, the lawsuit says.
Another crew member who was leading Razo up the mountain and took Razo on a steep road with a loose gravel surface, instead of following the path of a service road, with devastating results, the suit says.
“The front end of the mobile camera crane unit began to lose traction and the unit started to slide backwards,” the lawsuit says. “The mobile camera crane unit then stood up on its rear wheels, before tipping over backwards on top of James Razo.”
The lawsuit states there were no signs indicating which way to go or personnel directing traffic.
During the early morning drive, calls were made to Razo and the other crew members telling them the mobile crane unit was needed immediately at the top of the mountain.