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Burnt by the Burning Man

July 3, 2009

Fire is hot. But, Anthony Beninati is not a man who just takes anybody’s word on anything. He is a man of action. At last year’s Burning Man festival, Beninati (I wished he lived in Cincinnati), decided he liked the giant bonfire so much that he would get a better look. He starting circling around the massive creation made of wood and flames until he was surrounded by fire. Then, he fell and burned his hands. Naturally, its logical to assume that this was the fault of the festival since nobody stopped him from doing it. So, this man burned his hands on the Burning Man at Burning Man. Beninati filed a lawsuit saying accusing the festival of negligence and a few weeks and a hilarious court decision later, we have learned nothing new about fire.

There were a few things working against Beninati in this case. First of all, he admitting knowing that fire is hot. Second, he intently walked into the fire, and third, he’s an idiot.

According to, the festival defended itself using a California statute normally reserved for harm caused by sports, which the court decided to accept despite that currently walking into a giant replica of a man on fire is not considered a sport.

The defendants argued the lawsuit was barred by the doctrine of “primary assumption of the risk.” This doctrine bars negligence claims by someone who was hurt while participating in an activity “involving an inherent risk of injury to voluntary participants . . . where the risk cannot be eliminated without altering the fundamental nature of the activity.”

Reading this on made me want to read the actual deposition. There is no way anything I can write could be any better than the real document.

In his deposition, Beninati admitted he knew “fire was dangerous and caused burns” before he walked into one. He knew there was some possibility of falling into said fire. He admitted no one affiliated with the defendants asked him to walk into the fire or told him it would be safe to do so. But he testified that he did not think it would be dangerous to walk into the fire, although he knew it “was not ‘absolutely safe, because there [was] a fire present.'” And, as noted, fire is hot.

I am going to Hell for censoring these.

I am going to Hell for censoring these.

I need to start saving up for this festival.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Matt permalink*
    July 3, 2009 12:07 am

    You’re going to Hell for NOT providing pornography on the internet?

  2. July 3, 2009 10:44 am

    That magic carpet car was AWESOME

  3. Samuel permalink*
    July 3, 2009 3:58 pm


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