Veteran Reporter Files Suit Over Injuries From Station-Sponsored Event

Liz Carey

Pittsburgh, PA ( – A 72-year-old reporter with Pittsburgh-based television news station KDKA has filed suit saying he was discriminated against after being injured on the job.

David Crawley filed suit against the station, the station’s corporate owner CBS and WPCW-TV, a sister station. The suit stems from injuries he received during a regatta event sponsored by the station, which he says caused him to lose his spleen and suffer brain damage. A reporter with the station since 1988, Crawley said in his suit that his treatment after the injuries were an example of “discrimination and disenfranchisement of vulnerable employees…endemic amongst CBS-owned and operated stations.”

During the EQT Pittsburgh Three Rivers Regatta in 2017, Crawley was asked to participate in the Red Bull Flugtag, where he rode a platform on wheels off of a 22-foot high pier into the water. Within seconds of leaving the pier, he belly-flopped into the water landing on his face and front. Although he signaled that he was okay, he later said he was forced to file workers’ compensation claims for injuries to his spleen, diaphragm and brain.

Crawley said in that suit he was ill over the next 17 days but continued to work until he collapsed while covering another story at Duquesne University.

That suit named Red Bull, the Three Rivers Regatta and others for fraud, fraudulent misrepresentation or nondisclosure and negligence. Although Crawley signed a release for the event, he said he was not given it until just before the incident and was not given enough time to read it thoroughly.

Red Bull contends it has safely hosted many other events.

“Red Bull has a long history of hosting major public events and the safety of spectators and participants is always our primary concern. The first Red Bull Flugtag took place in 1991, and it has been a well-known event over the years,” Red Bull said in a statement.

In his latest suit against the television station, Crawley said he was forced to file a workers’ compensation claim and that CBS is refusing to pay his medical bills.

“CBS has aggressively fought and continues to fight to deny Dave Crawley’s workers’ compensation and employment rights,” the lawsuit says according to The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Crawley said in the most recent suit that the company has discriminated against him because of his age.

Citing other incidents when younger employees were treated differently after being injured in a similar Flugtag event in Miami, Crawley said the company is retaliating against him by not renewing his contract with KDKA, eliminating his work email without notice, stripping him of benefits and “intentionally eliminated him from public view – effectively erasing him from Pittsburgh viewership.”

In his suit, Crawley cited the case of Craig Setzer, a Miami weatherman, who was badly injured in a Flugtag accident in 2013. Setzer, the suit said, was promoted after his injury, while Crawley was “abandoned, disregarded and retaliated against by CBS.”

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