07/18/2008 at 08:00 PM EDT
Ed McMahon filed suit Friday against Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and a billionaire homeowner over a broken neck the TV personality suffered when he fell at a dinner party.
McMahon, 85, a longtime product pitchman and Johnny Carson's sidekick on The Tonight Show
, says the injury has prevented him from working and has contributed to his financial crisis.
According to the L.A. Superior Court suit, McMahon tumbled on "unsafe entry stairs" at a March 2007 dinner party at the home of Robert Day, the founder of the Los Angeles investment management firm TCW Group.
After McMahon was rushed to Cedars, a doctor failed to diagnose his broken neck and then discharged him, the suit alleges. Only weeks later was the injury discovered, but treatment – including spinal surgery – "fell below the applicable standard of care," the suit says.
"We had hoped to avoid a lawsuit, but our discussions were not fruitful and we were left with no other option," says McMahon's spokesman, Howard Bragman. "That being said, we believe our suit has great merit and we expect a favorable resolution."
Reps for Cedars and the TCW Group declined to comment.