McMahon sues over neck injury

July 18, 2008 6:43:53 PM PDT
Ed McMahon sued a hospital, two doctors and an investment tycoon Friday over a neck injury he has said has left him unable to work, a circumstance he has blamed for his recent money woes. The lawsuit seeks an unspecified amount, claiming negligence, battery, elder abuse and intentional infliction of emotional distress. It was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court against Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, two doctors, and the owner of a home where he says he fell in March 2007.

The former "The Tonight Show" sidekick claims that Cedars-Sinai and its doctors originally discharged him with a broken neck and didn't adequately conduct two surgeries. McMahon's suit states his cardiologist later discovered that his neck was broken.

Cedars-Sinai has not been served with the lawsuit and could not comment on the allegations, said Simi Singer, a hospital spokeswoman.

Also named in the lawsuit is Robert Day, who owns an investment firm and has been on Forbes' list of richest Americans in previous years, and his wife. McMahon claims a ramp-like staircase where he attended a dinner party was "unsafe" because it was poorly lit and lacked handrails.

A message left after hours at Day's company was not returned Friday afternoon.

The lawsuit gives new insights into the neck injuries McMahon discussed in a recent appearance on "Larry King Live." McMahon, 85, explained that he was unable to work as a pitchman because of his injuries - and that is why he fell $644,000 behind on mortgage payments on his Beverly Hills home.

"If you spend more money than you make, you know what happens," McMahon said at the time. "You know, a couple of divorces thrown in, a few things like that. And, you know, things happen."

McMahon has had to undergo three surgeries to try to repair his neck, the lawsuit states. The most recent one was performed on July 11.

McMahon's suit includes letters mailed earlier this year to the hospital informing them a lawsuit could be filed.

"We had hoped to avoid a lawsuit, but our discussions were not fruitful and we were left with no other option. That being said, we believe our suit has great merit and we expect a favorable resolution," said Howard Bragman, spokesman for Ed McMahon.

McMahon's mounting money problems include a lawsuit against him by Citibank, which is trying to recoup nearly $200,000 it said it loaned McMahon and his wife, Pam.