Johnny Knoxville is known for his pranks. As the star of the “Jackass” franchise, Knoxville and his crew often perform pranks and stunts that put them in uncomfortable, embarrassing, or even dangerous situations.
But one of their pranks may have gone too far, and it led to a lawsuit.
What did Knoxville do, and will he be liable for damages?
A Prank Gone Too Far?
Khalil Khan is a freelance electrician in California who finds work through the Taskrabbit app.
According to Variety, Khan received a request to repair an electric dimmer switch at a private home. When Khan arrived at the home, he met a man who threatened to beat him up if he didn’t do the job right. Khan started to work on the dimmer switch when a lamp went out and a ten-year-old girl came into the room. The girl told him he made the power go out and killed her horse which was on life support in another room.
The ten-year-old was an actor involved in the prank put on by Knoxville and his team.
Khan was then brought into a room, which appeared to have a pony hooked up to machines. From there, Khan could see out the window, and his car was being towed. When Khan said he wanted to call the cops, a man pulled out a bag of white powder and told Khan he would get in trouble because his vehicle had cocaine in it.
Khan said he was “horrified” by the incident.
Knoxville eventually disclosed to Khan that he was being pranked. Knoxville was filming the prank for his new series “The Prank Patrol,” an ABC comedy series set to premiere in 2023.
Knoxville offered Kahn money for his participation, but rather than take the money, Khan filed a lawsuit.
Handman Files Emotional Distress Lawsuit
Khan filed a lawsuit in Long Beach Superior Court that alleges that he was put into a state of panic by the prank. He is seeking damages for emotional distress, worry, anxiety, and possible harm to his business reputation.
The lawsuit states, “In the span of just minutes, he had been threatened with being beaten up, told he botched the repair job, accused of murdering a pony, had his car taken without his permission, and was now being told that he would be arrested for possession of illicit narcotics.”
“He has been badly shaken and traumatized by this episode,” the lawsuit says.
The lawsuit claims that Khan has suffered lack of sleep, anxiety, and emotional distress. It is not clear what damages the lawsuit seeks.
Can You Sue for Emotional Distress?
The lawsuit is filed in California and will abide by California law. California allows victims to sue for infliction of emotional distress (IIED).
In Florida, a victim could file a personal injury lawsuit in civil court to sue for emotional distress. While it can be more difficult to prove emotional injury than physical injury, victims can seek damages if the negligence of another party led to their suffering.
To win a case for emotional distress, the victim would need to prove fault for a personal injury case. The plaintiff would need to prove two things.
- The defendant created a situation that led to emotional distress. The defendant intentionally created the situation or created the situation due to negligence.
- The emotional distress led to damages. The distress led to compensation damages (such as the cost for medical bills, loss of earnings, etc.) and/or general compensatory damages, also known as “pain and suffering” compensation.
In Khan’s situation, he may have a case if he can prove that the prank led to emotional distress which needed to be treated by medical doctors or led to the loss of income. He may also be able to show that he lost business due to damage to his business reputation.
Khan and Knoxville could settle the case out of court, or the case will continue to wind its way through the legal system.
Fight for Your Rights
If you experience harm due to the negligence or maliciousness of another person, you deserve to be made whole. Whether the harm is physical or emotional, you can fight to get to what is owed to you.
Talk to a personal injury attorney about your options for collecting damages to recover from financial, physical, or emotional harm that was caused to you or your business.
To get answers to any of your personal injury questions, talk to TJ Grimaldi. TJ is an experienced personal attorney offering free consultations to discuss personal injury cases. Talk to TJ today about your case. Request your appointment or call 813-226-1023 now.