SAN FRANCISCO -- A man who was burned at the Burning Man Festival in Nevada in 2005 when he threw a friend's photograph into the flames lost a bid to a state appeals court in San Francisco Tuesday to sue the event promoter.
The Court said Anthony Beninati voluntarily chose to take part in a dangerous activity when he approached the burning 40-foot wooden statue for the purpose of throwing a photo of a deceased friend into the bonfire.
A three-judge appeals panel unanimously ruled that the promoter, San Francisco-based Black Rock City LLC, was protected by a legal doctrine known as assumption of risk.
Beninati sought to sue the promoter for negligence in San Francisco Superior Court in 2006 and appealed after a trial judge dismissed the lawsuit last year.
A three-judge appeals panel unanimously upheld a Superior Court conclusion that the assumption-of-risk doctrine protected Black Rock City from liability.
The festival, held in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada since 1990, features the burning of a 40-foot wooden effigy of a man atop a similarly tall platform at sundown on the Saturday before Labor Day each year.
Beninati approached the bonfire in 2005 after the statute and platform had begun to burn and had collapsed. After throwing his friend's photo into the flames, he took a few more steps forward and tripped and fell into the fire, badly burning both hands, according to his lawsuit.
Beninati was the general manager of a real estate rehabilitation company at the time of the festival.
What a colossal waste of time and money. It's a shame he didn't turn himself into a human torch and run screaming off a cliff. Judges not only should have thrown out the case, they should have fined him heartily for being a moronic jackass and wasting the court's time and money trying to bring a lawsuit against somebody for his own stupidity and clumsiness.