Donald Gennaro was an American lawyer employed by the San Francisco Law Offices of Cowan, Swain & Ross. He was involved in the firm’s partnership with International Genetic Technologies, Inc. in the 1980s and 1990s, and was summoned to represent the firm during an investigation into the safety of InGen’s Jurassic Park project in the summer of 1993. Gennaro represented InGen’s investors.
While on Isla Nublar to oversee the investigation, Gennaro became involved in an incident of sabotage which allowed animals to escape their designated paddock areas. During the incident, he was killed in an animal attack. His death resulted in a lawsuit from his family which furthered InGen’s financial crisis.
The given name Donald derives from the Gaelic name Dòmhnall, which itself is derived from the Proto-Celtic Dumno-ualos. It translates to “world-wielder,” though a more appropriate translation is “world-ruler.” The surname Gennaro is Italian in origin and comes from the name Januarius or January; it references the cult of Januarius, a 3rd-century bishop who is now recognized as the patron saint of Naples.
Donald Gennaro was born in 1952 or 1953, though his exact birthday and place of birth are not known. He was said to be forty years old as of early June 1993, so his birthday could be as early as late June 1952 or as late as early June 1953.
Gennaro appears to have lived in wealth and prosperity for most of his life, as he was unfamiliar with outdoors workplaces and physical labor as an adult. He also seems to have had a poor understanding of what an average person would consider affordable, a flaw common to those who grow up rich. However, he was not in the uppermost echelon of wealthiness; he longed for more.
His affluence allowed him to pursue a prosperous career, and he selected law as his profession. It is unknown exactly what kind of lawyer he became, or whether he was qualified as an attorney-at-law, but he appears to have followed a career in investment. Many lawyers begin their first year in their mid-twenties, which for Gennaro would mean the 1970s.
Gennaro took up a job as a lawyer with the San Francisco Law Offices of Cowan, Swain & Ross. His direct supervisor was one of the firm’s three lead attorneys, Mr. Daniel Ross. Not much is known about his career with the firm, but he appears to have been a trusted member and worked closely with Ross.
Sometime after 1975, the firm began working with investors in a company called International Genetic Technologies Corporation, Inc., based in San Diego. It had been founded by Scottish entrepreneur Dr. John Parker Hammond, now the company’s CEO, and his wealthy business partner Sir Benjamin Lockwood. The company produced genetically modified consumer biological products, which at that stage were being designed and produced within the Lockwood estate where a private lab had been set up for InGen use.
Hammond’s long-term goal was highly ambitious. He planned to use InGen’s cutting-edge genetic engineering technologies for loftier scientific achievements than any of its competitors by performing de-extinction, the practice of restoring an extinct organism to life. This had never been accomplished before, but Hammond believed it was possible and staked InGen on this belief. In 1982, the company leased the Pacific island of Isla Sorna from the Costa Rican government, along with the surrounding Muertes Archipelago. With this island’s remote location and relative lack of economic importance, it would provide a safe clandestine testing ground away from the government regulations of the United States. The following year, InGen began constructing an amphitheater in San Diego not far from their waterfront complex that would act as the centerpiece of an attraction called Jurassic Park.
Research continued at a breakneck pace: at the Lockwood laboratory, the first successful test fertilization of an artificial ovum was confirmed in 1984, followed one year later by the first successful extraction of ancient DNA from a Mesozoic amber sample. InGen now had all of the basic scientific principles in place to clone extinct life. The successful extraction of DNA from amber in 1985 seems to have inspired Hammond to make his plans for Jurassic Park ever grander, and InGen negotiated the addition of Isla Nublar onto the 99-year lease from Costa Rica. This island, closer to the Pacific coast of Costa Rica but still fairly remote, would serve as the site for the Park; the San Diego locale was abandoned. Meanwhile, de-extinction was successfully performed on Isla Sorna in 1986 with the hatching of a Triceratops. InGen was able to engineer species at a faster rate than before thanks to techniques pioneered by Dr. Henry Wu, who was hired that year. Construction on the Isla Nublar facility commenced in 1988 after a two-year-long controversial relocation of the indigenous people.
Disasters at Jurassic Park
It is not known when Gennaro was made aware of InGen’s Jurassic Park project, but he was familiar with numerous members of InGen’s high-ranking corporate members by the 1990s. He seems to have worked with the Board of Directors, who began to grow dissatisfied with Hammond’s leadership as his business choices proved more and more expensive for the company.
Logistical issues began to crop up with the Park on all sides. The advanced technology, unprecedented biological assets, and internal personal strife all took their toll on the complicated project; there were computer problems, animal behavior challenges, and interpersonal difficulties all around. Lockwood, once the company’s greatest beneficiary, left InGen in the early 1990s due to irreconcilable philosophical differences with Hammond, placing the company in a financial slump. Some of the workers began to grow dissatisfied as progress, quality of life, and pay all simultaneously slowed.
Wu’s genetic engineering techniques were found to yield unpredictable side effects due to the incompletely-known nature of the genes he was using as filler, causing some of the animals to demonstrate traits that made them harder to manage. Among these were the Velociraptors, which had a very high rate of anomalies. Gennaro did not seem to be aware of just how many issues this species presented, but he certainly heard about the incident they caused in early June 1993. Their behavioral problems had prompted Park game warden Robert Muldoon to order a relocation from their paddock to a small holding pen where they could be more easily observed, but during the operation, they fatally mauled a worker. The true cause of his death was most likely covered up to anyone outside InGen, but nonetheless his family sued for wrongful death to the tune of US $20,000,000. The insurance company which underwrote the Park cited this as a serious piece of evidence against the Park’s safety, and this made InGen’s investors anxious. Should the insurance be revoked, the Park might no longer be viable. Gennaro was called into action to deal with this crisis.
The Board of Directors ordered a halt on all major construction at Jurassic Park pending a review of the facility. Board members observed the Park’s progress and noted its challenges and safety issues, and Gennaro was chosen as counsel for putting together a team of outside experts to tour the Park and give it their seal of approval. Without their endorsement, the Board would shut the Park down permanently. Among the first experts hired was mathematician Dr. Ian Malcolm, whose philosophical beliefs and research into chaos theory made him valued for threat analysis. However, even Gennaro considered Malcolm to be too “trendy” to be an ideal endorsement team leader. A geologist was planned to accompany the team and provide commentary on the safety of the geothermal power plant, but at Gennaro’s recommendation, the Board cancelled the geologist’s invitation. The scientist the Board and InGen’s investors had really wanted was famed vertebrate paleontologist Dr. Alan Grant, who specialized in the kind of dinosaurs the Park was having issues with (namely the Velociraptors). Gennaro planned to meet with Hammond at the Mano de Dios amber mine in the Dominican Republic, which was owned by one of InGen’s partners, the geologist Juanito Rostagno. Here they would discuss hiring a paleontologist.
Hammond failed to show for the meeting, leaving Gennaro to converse with Rostagno and the amber miners. Rather than attend their meeting as planned, Hammond had opted to spend time with his daughter and grandchildren as their family was experiencing a divorce (a fact which Hammond had relayed to Rostagno, but not Gennaro). The miners teased Gennaro behind his back about his lack of experience in the field; having lived an upper-class life, Gennaro was ill-equipped for the rough environment of an amber mine or any outdoor physical labor work. Nonetheless, he was able to witness the excavation of new amber, including a valuable specimen containing a mosquito inclusion. Rostagno assured Gennaro that it would be impossible to get Dr. Grant to leave Montana and his paleontological research. Gennaro relayed this to Hammond, who refused to accept the impossibility and flew to Montana himself to recruit Grant.
On June 11, 1993, Gennaro met with Hammond in Costa Rica to fly to Isla Nublar via helicopter. Malcolm accompanied them, and so did Hammond’s recruits: he had succeeded in convincing Dr. Grant to join the team by promising continue funding his research, and Grant’s colleague Dr. Ellie Sattler had also joined the group. Sattler was a paleobotanist, a scientist who studied the fossilized remains of ancient plant life. InGen and its investors had not even considered hiring such a scientist. Hammond teased Gennaro for having acquired only the “rock star” Dr. Malcolm, considering his additions to the team to be the real scientists. The helicopter landed at the Isla Nublar helipad in the southern part of the island’s valleys, and from there they took Jeeps north toward the visitor compound. Gennaro rode with Hammond, reminding him along the way that he had the authority to shut down Jurassic Park if he and the investors he represented were not convinced that the Park was safe by the end of the weekend. Daniel Ross had explicitly instructed Gennaro to end the project at any sign of trouble. Hammond rejected Gennaro’s threat, assuring him that the Park’s safety measures were fully functional and that Gennaro would indeed be impressed by what the facility had to offer.
Gennaro got a firsthand look at Hammond’s promise not long after. En route to the visitor compound, they passed through a large open field with a watering hole, and Hammond had the drivers halt. Crossing the field toward a stand of eucalyptus trees was a fully-grown Brachiosaurus, over fifty feet tall. Nearby were a couple more similarly-huge animals, along with a herd of Parasaurolophus. Now having seen Jurassic Park’s full potential, Gennaro abandoned any goal of shutting the Park down. Instead, he became its most ardent supporter in the endorsement tour group.
Hammond brought them all to the Visitors’ Centre to give them the introductory tour that would be shown to visitors once the Park opened, bringing them through the Centre’s impressive central rotunda and upstairs to a theater. Here, they watched a short film explaining the process of de-extinction, and were shown a glimpse of the laboratory. Gennaro initially assumed that the scientists they were seeing were animatronic characters (though he mispronounced the term as “autoerotica,” which is of course something entirely different), but Hammond informed him that Jurassic Park did not use animatronic technology. Everything he was seeing was real; those were actual scientists performing the research that allowed the Park to function. The scientists of the tour group, wanting to see the laboratory in person, exited the ride despite Hammond and Gennaro’s insistence that they stay on board for the duration of the show; the tour was diverted into the lab. They met with InGen’s chief geneticist Dr. Wu and were lucky enough to observe a hatching Velociraptor, the newest addition to the Park’s menagerie.
Dr. Grant now wanted to see the adult raptors, and Hammond reluctantly obliged. These animals had caused numerous issues in the Park, not the least of which was the incident that had necessitated the investigation in the first place. Gennaro and the others met with Robert Muldoon, who had personally witnessed the raptors’ fatal attack on the worker and now advocated for the euthanasia of the entire species. He fueled the scientists’ concerns about the Park’s safety by explaining the raptors’ intelligence and predatory behaviors, which he considered a major security threat. Finally, the group was around to see feeding time, in which the raptors were given a live bull to eat.
Hammond treated the group to lunch at the Visitors’ Centre, though most of the group members had lost their appetite after watching the raptors eat. Gennaro, by now, was the only guest who was still enthusiastic about the Park, chiefly because of how enormously profitable it could be for InGen’s investors. He suggested charging up to US $10,000 per visitor per day to stay in the Park, sincerely believing that people would pay such amounts to see what InGen had created here. Hammond opposed this suggestion, firmly stating that the Park was not only for the very wealthy, and that everyone in the world should be allowed to see the animals. The three scientists were far more skeptical, citing several of the Park’s features as unaddressed problems that could evolve into bigger issues if not dealt with. Malcolm complained of InGen’s lack of scientific oversight and regulation, Sattler noted poisonous plants in the visitor facilities, and Grant brought up the fact that the dinosaurs’ behaviors were still poorly understood since they had never been observed alive before. Gennaro was at this point Hammond’s only supporter, although Hammond did not appreciate it since his support was contingent on the Park’s profitability and not Hammond’s vision.
To convince the scientists of the Park’s safety, Hammond had scheduled a full tour of the Park for that day. Joining them were his two young grandchildren, Lex and Tim Murphy, who represented an important demographic of the Park’s target audience. Gennaro boarded one of the electric Ford Explorers, taking the lead vehicle, along with the two enthusiastic children. The scientists boarded the rear vehicle. He was eager to see the Park’s facilities and animals, and he had this in common with the children (though not for the same reasons). The tour vehicles were automated, so there were no drivers; the passengers were sent along for the ride by the program the Park’s engineers had developed. Most of the Park staff were actually departing by boat for the weekend that afternoon.
Unfortunately, the tour was a bit of a disappointment. The first dinosaur they were supposed to see, a small venomous carnivore called Dilophosaurus, did not show. The Park’s star attraction Tyrannosaurus rex similarly did not make an appearance, despite the Park’s chief engineer Ray Arnold having a goat delivered into the paddock‘s feeder to try and lure the animal out of the forest. In the Explorer, Lex expressed concern for the goat’s safety, remarking that she was a vegetarian; Gennaro did not share her concern. With the tyrannosaur remaining concealed from view, the tour moved on.
As they passed along the edge of a field, Dr. Grant suddenly left the rear vehicle, followed by Dr. Sattler and then Dr. Malcolm; Gennaro and the children followed them as the tour halted. Gennaro was apprehensive about going into the field, since it was marked by a simple fence as a paddock area, but Grant continued to lead the way. He had seen a Jeep parked in the field and had gone out to investigate. They heard an animal nearby, and encountered a Triceratops. Fortunately, the animal had been tranquilized by Muldoon so that the Park’s chief veterinarian Dr. Gerry Harding could treat it for an unidentified illness. This allowed Gennaro and the others to get their first real up-close look at a dinosaur, and it was just as impressive as they had all imagined. Finally the scientists began to come around, becoming amazed by the Park as Gennaro and Hammond had hoped.
Death and legacy
While Dr. Sattler attempted to help Dr. Harding diagnose the sick animal with the help of the others, Gennaro kept his distance, being ill-suited for fieldwork. During this sidetrack a tropical storm reached Isla Nublar’s shores; a crack of lightning startled Gennaro and he insisted that they return to the vehicles. Sattler remained with Harding to finish the work while the others made for the Explorers while heavy rain began to fall on the island. Ray Arnold rerouted the tour to return along its original path, rather than proceed forward, and the remainder of the tour was delayed until tomorrow.
As the vehicles passed the tyrannosaur paddock on their way back to the Visitors’ Centre, power was lost, and the tour program stalled. The communications were also down, and a check-in from Grant in the rear vehicle confirmed that the same was the case in the car Grant shared with Malcolm. This made it impossible to call the Visitors’ Centre and alert the staff to the problem. Gennaro suggested that they remain put, waiting for either the storm to pass or the power to come back on. While they waited, the bored children investigated the car; Tim uncovered a set of night-vision goggles which Gennaro tried to discourage him from playing with (as they were probably expensive).
Gennaro tried to rest, but was roused by a low booming sound. Apprehensive, he hoped that it was some sign of the power restarting, but the children soon noticed that the goat was no longer attached to its tether at the feeder. Moments later, its detached leg landed on the vehicle’s sun roof and they witnessed the Tyrannosaurus swallowing its kill. With the power out, the electric fence was deactivated; they saw the tyrannosaur’s arm brush against the fence as it ate, and the animal realized that it was not constrained any longer. Gennaro panicked, wildly fleeing the vehicle in a fit of terror and leaving the children behind. He hid in the rest area’s outhouse; the thatch walls and roof were too flimsy to provide any real protection aside from simply hiding him, but he was no longer thinking rationally.
He remained hidden in a bathroom stall while horrifying noises cut through the sound of the storm outside: metallic creaking and twanging, primal animal bellows, shouting and screaming. After a few minutes, the familiar sound and feel of heavy footsteps rapidly approached Gennaro’s hiding place. He incoherently uttered a quick prayer, but he would find no absolution. The restroom was struck from outside and its walls collapsed, the thatch roof falling away around Gennaro. Only the toilet was left standing, and Gennaro upon it. The forty-foot predator stood over him, mouth full of enormous serrated teeth at the ready. Too frightened to even try to flee, Gennaro had mere seconds to prepare before that mouth descended upon him, gripping his body and lifting him off the ground. The tyrannosaur, having been denied ways to entertain itself for years, now had a plaything. It thrashed Gennaro’s body back and forth to lethal effect, his body literally flying apart. His mangled remains were left scattered among the ruins of the outhouse.
His body, or what was left of it, was later discovered by Muldoon and Dr. Sattler as they searched for survivors around the site of the attack. They recovered Dr. Malcolm, who was wounded, and discovered that Dr. Grant and the children had escaped by fleeing deeper into the Park. The following day the surviving members of the group succeeded in restoring the power to the Park, but by that time the damage was irreparable. Several other deaths followed Gennaro’s, including Arnold and Muldoon. His remains were most likely never recovered from the island as his body was in pieces; by the time the island was investigated the following year, scavenging animals and decomposition would have reduced him to scattered bones.
Gennaro’s family sued InGen for US $36.5 million after learning of his death. Much like the worker whose death spurred on the investigation, it is most likely that the true cause of his demise was covered up by InGen, perhaps ascribed to an accident during the tropical storm. This was only one of several lawsuits aimed at InGen after the incident, and the combined force of all this litigation and payout caused the company to experience a financial crisis. Ultimately this ended with Hammond being fired, a failed attempt on Chairman Ludlow‘s part to salvage the company, and InGen being bought out by Indian conglomerate Masrani Global Corporation.
Employment at a respected law firm indicates that Gennaro was a skilled lawyer, and it appears he was personally trusted by the firm’s lead attorneys. He was assigned to investigate Jurassic Park and was trusted to be helpful legal counsel to InGen’s Board of Directors in selecting members for the endorsement tour. At the moment, it is unknown exactly what kind of lawyer Gennaro was, or whether he was qualified as an attorney (though he was in the novel), but it appears he was quite familiar with investment law, wrongful death lawsuits, and safety regulations. He was confident that if he found any issues at Jurassic Park he could shut the operation down overnight. During the investigation process, InGen’s investors hired Gennaro as his representative; the law firm he worked for had been doing business with InGen for some time.
Gennaro’s main weakness in terms of his ability to practice law was money. During the 1993 incident, he landed on Isla Nublar with all intentions of closing down Jurassic Park for good, but quickly reversed course when he realized how lucrative the Park could be and how much money it would net InGen’s investors. He abandoned his original goal and instead tried to keep the Park on track to open. While he believed this was in the best financial interest of his clients and thereby himself, it ran against the instructions given to him by his supervisor Daniel Ross at the law firm, who had instructed him to metaphorically burn the Park down if it showed signs of insecurity.
Gennaro did not appear to have close friends, with all of his relationships being based on business or law. His ability to get along with people was largely tied to his very mild personality; even when threatening others with legal consequences he was cordial about it. Gennaro was able to tolerate insults well, which served him as a lawyer since he often had to work alongside people who he was in opposition with. However, he was not readily liked by most people since he had few redeeming qualities and many found him irritating. This was especially evident when he interacted with working-class people; he had little to no experience in the blue-collar world. The script for Jurassic Park describes his appearance during his meeting at the Mano de Dios mine as “a city man’s idea of hiking clothes and a hundred-dollar haircut.”
Gennaro was first and foremost a capitalist, and his politics were mostly centered around economics. These beliefs were shaped by his upper-class lifestyle as well as his profession in investment law. His practices and social class suggest that he held centrist or conservative views, but he did not openly discuss most of his beliefs outside of economics. He seemed to have a poor understanding of lower social classes in general, showing ineptitude among trade workers and physical laborers as well as believing that people would pay over ten thousand U.S. dollars per day to stay at an exotic animal park.
Initially, Gennaro had little knowledge of de-extinction, as he did not have access to Isla Nublar until the time that he was sent there to represent InGen’s investors reviewing Jurassic Park. It is not clear when he first learned that InGen had brought extinct animals back to life through genetic engineering, or what he thought of it. When he was assigned this task his goal was actually to shut Jurassic Park down, since InGen was facing a substantially-sized wrongful death lawsuit from the family of a worker who had been killed during construction.
Upon witnessing the products of InGen’s research firsthand, Gennaro quickly came to realize that de-extinction could be an extremely profitable business. No longer interested in shutting the Park down, Gennaro became its most ardent supporter out of the tour group, suggesting that they could charge visitors exorbitant prices to see the animals (this recommendation was denied by Hammond). Despite his change of heart, Gennaro did ultimately accomplish his original goal of shutting the Park down by being one of the casualties of the 1993 incident. His family’s lawsuit was one of the most expensive InGen faced.
Gennaro does not appear to have been an especially religious man, but in the moments before his death, he quickly recited a somewhat incoherent Hail Mary. This suggests that he had been at least raised as a Christian, and that as he believed himself to be in mortal peril he sought to appeal to a higher power for salvation. Whether he also sought to atone for his sins of greed is unknown, but in any case, he did pay dearly for them.
Most of Donald Gennaro’s family relationships are unknown. He appears to have been fairly wealthy all of his life, having no real experience doing blue-collar work and considering that world of labor unfamiliar. After his death, his family sued InGen for thirty-six million dollars.
In the Jurassic Park novel, Gennaro was married and had a daughter; since his film character is so different, it is unknown whether this is also the case in the film canon.
Cowan, Swain & Ross
Gennaro’s only known employer at this time were the San Francisco Law Offices of Cowan, Swain & Ross, and his direct supervisor was Daniel Ross, one of the firm’s lead attorneys. Ross appears to have trusted Gennaro entirely and entrusted him with important duties related to InGen and its investors. The character of Daniel Ross was deleted from Jurassic Park, but in the second version of the script he is described as instructing Gennaro to (metaphorically) burn the Park to the ground if he finds signs of any instability.
Gennaro’s main clients were investors in International Genetic Technologies, people who had put capital to use with InGen in exchange for long-term financial gains. What kind of work he mostly did with them was unknown, but during the 1993 investigation into the stability and security of Jurassic Park, Gennaro was chosen to represent the investors. If, at the end of the weekend, InGen’s investors were not convinced that the Park was viable, Gennaro would have it shut down. However, upon seeing how profitable the Park had the potential to become, Gennaro decided independently that it was in the investors’ best interest that the Park open after all. He never had the chance to see this come to fruition as he died during the incident on Isla Nublar.
Dr. John Parker Alfred Hammond
As a representative of InGen’s investors, Gennaro worked with InGen’s CEO Dr. John Hammond to determine whether the Park was viable. The extent of their business relationship prior to this is unknown, but it is implied based on Gennaro’s dialogue that he and Hammond were quite familiar with each other. In the original novel version of Jurassic Park, Gennaro helped Hammond found InGen via investment consortia, meaning they would have worked together for many years. If this is true in the film canon, then Hammond and Gennaro would have known one another since 1975. In any case, they were on a first-name basis with each other by 1993.
Hammond, however, did not like Gennaro. He did not like lawyers in general, as government regulation and legal investigations hindered corporate progress. Gennaro’s feelings about Hammond seem to have been much more ambivalent; Hammond was both a source of wealth and irritation to Gennaro. On the one hand, Hammond’s company had numerous wealthy investors who paid Gennaro to represent them to InGen. On the other hand, Hammond was much more of a showman than Gennaro preferred, favoring flamboyance and dramatic spectacle rather than hard, reasonable business practices. They also disagreed on Park operating procedure; while they were both capitalists, Gennaro was a more conservative sort than Hammond and had suggested charging outrageous prices to Park guests. Hammond had more of a sense of noblesse oblige, believing that since he had the means to create Jurassic Park, it was his duty to make its wonders accessible to the average person. Hammond was known to insult Gennaro openly (referring to him as a “bloodsucking lawyer”), which Gennaro tolerated due to their business relationship. Hammond also cancelled a meeting with Gennaro preceding the June 1993 inspection without telling him.
Upon arrival to Isla Nublar, Gennaro initially had every intent of shutting the Park down due to the safety concerns. Once he saw the living attractions of the Park, though, he changed his mind completely. He believed that it held such potential that it would be foolish of the investors to abandon it; despite his and Hammond’s unsteady relationship, he became a firm supporter of the Park. Unfortunately, he would end up becoming a part of the reason it was shut down. After the Park was sabotaged and security measures failed, Gennaro was terrified by the appearance of a Tyrannosaurus during the storm and fled the safety of the tour vehicle. His movement lured the tyrannosaur out of its paddock, causing chaos and leading to Gennaro’s death. After this, his family sued InGen, pushing the company toward bankruptcy and eventually costing Hammond his position as CEO.
Other InGen personnel
While Gennaro probably worked with other employees at InGen (such as co-founder Benjamin Lockwood and members of the Board, including Chairman Peter Ludlow), his relationships with them are not well known. He did not work closely with employees onsite at Jurassic Park, since he had never been to Isla Nublar before the 1993 incident. Their activities did indirectly impact him via InGen’s investors. One incident in early June led to the death of a worker named Jophery Brown via mauling, leading to the necessity of outside endorsement of Jurassic Park in order to appease the investors who were Gennaro’s clients.
During his visit to the island, he briefly met a few workers at the Park as well as some of InGen’s high-ranking members on the project. These included chief geneticist Dr. Henry Wu, game warden Robert Muldoon, and chief veterinarian Dr. Gerry Harding. While he did not meet other staff personally, the tour he took through the Park was overseen by chief engineer Ray Arnold and chief programmer Dennis Nedry. During the tour, Arnold communicated with them on occasion, such as when he explained that they were going to try and lure the tyrannosaur into view using a goat. Nedry, on the other hand, did not communicate with them at all, but it was he who sabotaged the Park and put all their lives in danger. Having become dissatisfied with the extra work he was required to do without additional pay, as well as the lack of respect from his superiors, he had accepted a bribe to steal trade secrets from InGen by deactivating the security systems in order to avoid detection. His plan failed, resulting in his own death, but Gennaro was the first true victim of the incident he caused.
The wrongful death lawsuit from Gennaro’s family, along with other lawsuits related to the incident, harmed all InGen employees by causing a financial crisis at the company. Many people lost their jobs, and those who remained (such as Dr. Wu) struggled for years until the company was bought out.
Shortly before the incident of June 11, 1993, Gennaro was meant to meet with Hammond at the Mano de Dios amber mine in the Dominican Republic. Also meeting with them was the mine’s proprietor, geologist Juanito Rostagno, who worked closely with Hammond. However, Hammond cancelled the meeting so that he could be with his daughter during her divorce. He told Rostagno of this, but failed to inform Gennaro, causing the lawyer to show up alone.
The purpose of the meeting was to discuss hiring a paleontologist for the Jurassic Park endorsement operation. Gennaro showed up to the mine wearing fancy clothes, much to the amusement of Rostagno and his employees. They teased him, one employee even betting (in Spanish, which Gennaro did not speak) that the city man would trip and stumble while climbing a hill. Gennaro talked with Rostagno about the endorsement, and how Dr. Ian Malcolm had been hired but the Board and the investors wanted Dr. Alan Grant. Rostagno assured Gennaro that nothing would convince Grant to leave his research in Montana. While they talked, Gennaro got to see firsthand how the amber was extracted from the mine.
Endorsement tour group members
When an InGen employee named Jophery Brown was mauled to death by a Velociraptor, the Board of Directors halted major construction on the Park and demanded that outside experts give it their endorsement in order to appease the concerned investors. Gennaro was able to recruit Dr. Ian Malcolm, a famous mathematician and lecturer who specialized in chaos theory. Malcolm’s theories led to him being highly respected as a risk analyst, and it was believed that he would be able to assess the Park’s liabilities. The Board of Directors considered Malcolm “too trendy,” however, and had really wanted to hire paleontologist Dr. Alan Grant, whose area of expertise was theropod paleontology. There were also plans to hire a geologist to advise on the Park’s geothermal power plant, but Gennaro recommended that the geologist’s invitation be revoked, and the Board complied.
It was ultimately Hammond who convinced Dr. Grant to join the team, and he also extended the invitation to Grant’s colleague and romantic partner, the paleobotanist Dr. Ellie Sattler. Gennaro met with all three scientists on the flight to the island; he had little in common with most of the scientists, though he agreed with Malcolm’s cynicism about the Park’s viability. This changed upon arrival: once he had seen the dinosaurs for himself, Gennaro became unconditionally supportive of the Park, since he believed it would be immensely profitable and a boon to the investors he represented. He remained positive about the Park’s future even after witnessing the problematic Velociraptors and hearing Muldoon’s testimony about their intelligence and behavioral issues. The scientists, on the other hand, were more critical; Malcolm had been doubtful all along, and now Drs. Sattler and Grant began to take his side.
Before going out on the tour, Gennaro was joined by two more members of the group who did have a positive outlook on the Park: Hammond’s grandchildren, Lex and Tim Murphy, who were brought to the island to keep them away from their parents’ divorce. During the tour, Gennaro ended up in a vehicle with the two children while the scientists took the other vehicle (this was intentional on the part of Dr. Grant, who did not like interacting with children). He shared their interest in the Park and its biological attractions, but while his interest was obviously motivated by money, the children were more innocently excited to see the dinosaurs. On the tour the children and Gennaro only interacted a little, spending most of their time enthralled by the Park and the possibilities it represented. Otherwise, the children were more energetic than Gennaro was prepared to handle, and the children found Gennaro rather boring.
They took the same vehicles back toward the Visitors’ Centre after the tour had to be postponed due to inclement weather, leaving Gennaro with the children when the vehicles stalled during a power outage. At that point Sattler was no longer with the group as she had stayed behind with veterinarian Dr. Gerry Harding in the field. While they waited for conditions to improve, Tim recovered night vision goggles from the vehicle, which Gennaro instructed him to put down as they were probably expensive. Tim ignored him. As they waited, the tyrannosaur made an appearance, and a terrified Gennaro fled the vehicle. This left the children in the vehicle alone, and his movements caught the animal’s attention and caused it to leave its paddock to investigate. Gennaro’s actions may have put the other group members in danger; had he remained in the Explorer, the tyrannosaur might not have noticed the vehicles had people in them. Instead, it homed in on the Explorer he had fled and threatened the children. This forced Drs. Grant and Malcolm to intervene, distracting the animal to rescue the children. Malcolm lured the tyrannosaur away using a road flare, but ended up being rammed through the outhouse where Gennaro was hiding. Malcolm was seriously wounded, and Gennaro was exposed by the animal and killed. His death did buy Grant some time to get to the children and protect them, and probably saved Malcolm from being killed instead (Malcolm had been knocked unconscious in the attack).
While publicly, InGen was known for its revolutionary genetic engineering techniques and consumer biological products, its secret up-and-coming moneymaker was de-extinction, the practice of returning extinct species to life. InGen developed techniques to do this on animals and plants that had gone extinct much farther into the past than most scientists thought possible: using novel genetic engineering methods, it recovered ancient DNA from the Mesozoic era and succeeded in bringing animals such as dinosaurs to life. The methods altered the animals from their original forms, but it was a success nonetheless. InGen’s investors played a major role in making this possible, even though they probably were not all aware of what InGen was doing on Isla Nublar, which was officially being used as a biological research preserve.
Donald Gennaro did seem to be at least somewhat aware of what InGen’s goals for Jurassic Park were, but he did not visit the island until 1993. Nonetheless, the events that transpired there affected the investors he represented, and therefore affected him. In early June of 1993, there was an incident in which three Velociraptors mauled a worker to death during transport form their paddock to a holding cell, which was ordered following a number of behavioral problems that posed a threat to Park security. This led to a lawsuit against InGen by the worker’s family, and Gennaro was tasked with representing InGen’s investors in an assessment of the Park’s liabilities.
Although he was initially skeptical of the Park’s viability, this changed when he actually saw the animals. The first creature he witnessed was the enormous Brachiosaurus, a herbivorous sauropod reaching heights of over fifty feet; he also saw the smaller but no less impressive ornately-crested hadrosaur Parasaurolophus. In the laboratory he witnessed a hatching Velociraptor, and then later saw the adults at feeding time. These were the same individuals who had killed the worker and necessitated the endorsements. While on a tour of the Park, the carnivorous theropods Dilophosaurus and Tyrannosaurus failed to make appearances, disappointing everyone; the fleet-footed Gallimimus was also scheduled to be on the tour but does not seem to have made much of an impression. The highlight of the tour was a Triceratops, specifically a chronically-ill specimen who Gennaro was able to see up close due to Dr. Grant taking an unscheduled departure from the tour program.
The tour was delayed until the next day due to inclement weather, and while they returned toward the Visitors’ Centre the power was cut and the vehicles stalled near the tyrannosaur paddock. Here, the Park’s star Tyrannosaurus emerged from the woods to feed on a goat. With the power out, Gennaro realized that it would be able to escape, and he panicked. No longer thinking rationally, the lawyer became nothing more than a frightened prey animal, fleeing from a predator. His panicked escape caught the tyrannosaur’s attention; it had previously realized as well that the electric fence no longer caused shocks and easily pushed through it. The animal would likely have escaped eventually anyway, but Gennaro’s appearance caused her to investigate the vehicles, endangering the children in the Explorer that Gennaro had fled from. The scientists in the other car came to the children’s defense. During the conflict, the tyrannosaur destroyed the outhouse in which Gennaro was hiding, exposing him.
During its time in captivity, the tyrannosaur had been left without much stimulation. The chance to hunt, and to interact with its world in new ways, was exciting. Gennaro had frozen in fear, but the act of wiping raindrops from his eyes and instinctively smoothing his hair made him visible to the motion-sensitive animal. It clamped its jaws around him, entertaining itself by thrashing his helpless body around until he was nothing more than scraps. Donald Gennaro was the first confirmed victim of the 1993 incident, and the first known human death via tyrannosaur attack. He was the second person known to be killed by a de-extinct animal, after Jophery Brown.
Donald Gennaro is portrayed by Martin Ferrero. He is very loosely based on the character of the same name in Michael Crichton‘s novel, but virtually every aspect of his personality and motive was altered for the film. Most of the changes were due to the popular dislike of lawyers; in the novel Gennaro is genuinely concerned about the safety of the park, is an honest person, and tries to help the other characters. In the film, he was portrayed as greedy and cowardly, out of his depth, and useless in a crisis. Gennaro’s fate was also changed. He survives the incident in the novel (though he later dies of dysentery), while in the film he is the first casualty after the sabotage. Gennaro’s character in the film has more in common with the novel-only character Ed Regis, who is selfish and cowardly like Gennaro is in the film; his death is also due to tyrannosaur attack.
Gennaro’s employment at Cowan, Swain, & Ross is not referenced in the film, but is acknowledged in viral marketing for Jurassic Park: The Game. If one calls the InGen phone number included with the game’s special edition boxed set, a voicemail message references this law firm as being involved with InGen operations in the South Pacific.