8 Apr 2013

Lighting Designer Lawsuit

(8 April 2013)


Bad vibes on tour in Queensland with support act Jon Stevens, here. Does this signal a problem? Read this month’s lead here:

Reputational damage may quickly force nice guy rock star Chris Isaak to settle a messy lawsuit brought by his long term Lighting Designer, Lane Hirsch. Hirsch claims Issac employed a production manager, Tim Lamb, who routinely defamed, insulted and bullied him, along with two female crew members.

Isaak would not enjoy being named as the primary Defendant in the case, brought in the San Franscisco Superior Court in March this year against him, his management company H. Powell Inc, and the production manager. Hirsch alleges Lamb abused him with homosexual taunts, called the female crew profane names, and smoked pot on the tour bus just behind Hirsch’s bunk despite requests to stop.

Hirsch says he worked for Isaak for over 17 years and was paid for days worked, usually across a touring season of up to seven months of the year. His lawsuit is wide ranging, claiming additional payments due under California labor laws and damages for various actions.

But the lawsuit focuses on the extreme alleged behavior of Lamb, who will have the opportunity to defend himself should the case go to a jury trial later this year. Lamb also worked recently for Bob Seger.

Hirsch says Lamb told the female crew words like: “a woman’s place is not on tour”, and “girls are meant to stay home where they belong”. Hirsch alleges Lamb recruited two other crew, Ed Cole and Rob Smuder to join his harassment of the two women. Further he says Lamb would yell at the women until they broke into tears, according to court papers.

But Hirsch himself was a victim, he says. He complained to Sheryl Louis, Isaak’s manager, along with tour manager Doug Casper but to no avail. Hirsch says Lamb, Smuder and Cole made comments like ‘blow me’ and ‘suck my dick you little fag’ as retaliation against his complaints. He was called ‘fag’, ‘gay’ ‘lesbian’, ‘little girl’, or ‘E-lane’ – a reference to his name.

Finally Hirsch was fired just before the 2012 touring season, after confirming dates and not accepting other work. For this he seeks compensation, along with damages for the abuse and other matters

Hirsch claims Chris Isaak was aware of the disharmony amongst his crew. CX notes Hirsch does not claim or deny being homosexual, we quote directly from the court papers.


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