Empire State Building Operator Sues Stuntman Who Tried To Parachute Off Landmark

Friday, April 6th 2007, 6:18 pm
By: News On 6

NEW YORK (AP) _ Nearly a year after a stuntman tried to parachute from the 86th floor of the Empire State Building, there's a new round of legal fallout.

Building officials filed a $12 million lawsuit against Jeb Corliss late Thursday, claiming he cost the landmark skyscraper money, damaged its reputation and injured security guards who prevented the jump.

Building officials want ``to discourage him, or anyone else, from ever again attempting such a dangerous _ or possibly deadly _ stunt,'' James Connors, the skyscraper's general manager, said in a written statement Friday.

Corliss' lawyer, Mark Heller, called the suit an abuse of the legal system and a public relations move.

Corliss, 30, was host of the Discovery Channel show ``Stunt Junkies'' when he attempted the jump April 27, but was fired over the incident.

He entered the 102-story building disguised in a mask and a fat suit. Once at the 86th-floor observatory, he removed the fat suit, revealing a black jump suit, a parachute and a helmet with a camera on top.

He leaped onto a railing ``and propelled himself onto the top of the security fence to ready himself to BASE (building, span, antenna, earth) jump off the building,'' the papers say. Security guards caught Corliss and handcuffed him before he could jump.

A reckless-endangerment charge was thrown out in January by a judge who said the evidence did not show that Corliss' actions posed a grave risk to others.

The building's lawsuit seeks $2 million in compensatory damages and $10 million in punitive damages. It also seeks to bar Corliss from entering the building ever again.

Corliss, of Malibu, Calif., calls himself a professional who has made more than 1,000 BASE jumps from bridges, buildings and cliffs in 16 countries.