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1. Violent Nu-Metal Nuts Abuse Fans
Highest Court Court of Appeals of Washington
Year Ended 2009
Plaintiffs Concert Attendee(s)
Defendants Music Proprietor(s)
Other Shinedown
Trapt
Short Description Plaintiffs, two concert-goers, were assaulted at a concert featuring Shinedown and Trapt (though the court spelled both their names wrong) and subsequently sued Defendant, the owner of the concert venue where they were assaulted, for negligence. Plaintiffs argued that Defendant owed them a duty to protect them from assault since the assailant had been previously kicked out of the venue for violent conduct and overagressiveness in the venue's "mosh pit", thus putting Defendant on notice of the danger that the assailant posed to Plaintiffs. The court found that no authority existed to support Plaintiffs argument, and affirmed the lower court's dismissal of their claims against the venue owner. Judgment for Defendant. - SKR (ed. LSW)


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2. Ex-Girlfriend vs. 50 Cent
Highest Court New York Supreme Court
Year Ended 2008
Plaintiffs Girlfriend of Artist(s)
Defendants 50 Cent
Other No Other parties on file
Short Description A longtime girlfriend to Curtis Jackson (50 Cent), who is also mother to his child, sued 50 for numerous causes of action after he "made it big," alleging he had earlier promised, in return for supporting him while he was struggling and newly paroled, that "when he makes it big, he will take care of [her] for the rest of [her] life." When 50's celebrity and bank account grew, he pushed for Plaintiff (and provided funds) to start a career investing in properties. After the relationship strained, 50 began sleeping around and allegedly hitting Plaintiff, they split, and Plaintiff filed this suit. It could be taught in first year Contracts classes, as it deals with oral contracts and equitable relief that may arise when such promises are unenforceable. The trial court found that Plaintiff stated causes of action for breach of contract, breach of joint venture agreement, partition of property, and various equitable actions, holding that unmarried cohabitants were legally able to contract regarding financial matters. In its final disposition, however, the court dismissed the complaint in its entirety. Any contract-based claims were blocked by lack of specificity in the original promise or by the Statute of Frauds, as not performable within one year. The court found for 50 Cent on every other cause of action, denying petition of property and dismissing assault and battery (outside the statute of limitations), fraud, and others. Plaintiff's "unjust enrichment" action was also insufficient; 50 had since taken care of Plaintiff, even if she originally took care of him. - LSW


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3. Aiken Won't Endorse Book
Highest Court Court of Appeals of North Carolina
Year Ended 2008
Plaintiffs Book Author(s)
Defendants Aiken, Clay
Charitable Organization(s)
Family of Artist(s)
Music Producer(s)
Other No Other parties on file
Short Description Plaintiff, the author of a book about Clay Aiken, sued the singer and his mother for libel and intentional infliction of emotional distress, among other legal theories, after they both refused to endorse and help promote the book. The court threw out the claims regarding the book, asserting that "Our courts cannot be used to force celebrities or their family or friends into making endorsements for another person's profit." - SKR


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4. Motley Crowd vs. Motley Crue
Highest Court M.D. Florida
Year Ended 2008
Plaintiffs Concert Attendee(s)
Defendants Live Nation
Music Promoter(s)
Music Proprietor(s)
Other Aerosmith
Mötley Crüe
Short Description At an Aerosmith and Motley Crue concert in Florida, a member of Motley Crue (though the opinion doesn't say who) allegedly leapt from the stage and assaulted the Plaintiff, a first-row fan. Security guards allegedly joined in and assaulted Plaintiff as well. Plaintiff sued various parties involved in throwing the concert for negligence, negligent hiring, vicarious assault liability, and premises liability. However, Plaintiff's complaint was apparently horribly written: he did not allege any relationship (employment or otherwise) between Defendants and the band members and security guards; he did not plead the basic elements of negligence; in short, he botched every count. The court held Plaintiff failed to state a single cause of action and dismissed the complaint, but gave advice for an adequate complaint. - LSW


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5. Rush Guitarist Fights at the Ritz
Highest Court Eleventh Circuit
Year Ended 2008
Plaintiffs Business Entity of Artist(s)
Family of Artist(s)
Music Manager(s)
Music Promoter(s)
Music Publisher(s)
Record Label(s)
Rush
Defendants Place of Public Accomodation
Security Guard(s)
Other No Other parties on file
Short Description At a New Year's Eve party at a Ritz Carlton in Florida, Rush guitarist Aleksandar Zivojinovich (better known as Alex Lifeson) and his son, Justin, acted distruptively and were ejected by police officers at the hotel's request. Alex and Justin were admittedly acting inappropriately at the event, but hotel staff exaggerated the story to police officers in an attempt to have them removed. After being asked to leave, the situation escalated, ending in both Alex and Justin getting "tazed," and Alex receiving a broken nose. Both pleaded no contest to restisting arrest without violence, but then a flurry of lawsuits followed, brought by the officers against the Zivojinoviches and by the Zivojinoviches against the officers and the Ritz. Even Rush joined the suit, alleging Alex's injuries were detrimental to the band's business. The court disposed of all counts except one: Alex and Justin's negligence claims against the Ritz. Because hotel staff had lied to police officers to instigate the duo's removal, the court held that the hotel had breached a duty "not to lie," and that the staff's breach increased the risk of injury to the Zivojinoviches. Because hotel staff may have breached their duty, the hotel could be vicariously liable as well. Alex and Justin's actions against the officers for unconstitutionally excessive force were dismissed; the officers had acted appropriately, at least, perhaps, given the inaccurate reports they'd received from the hotel personnel. Rush's cause of action didn't even exist, and the band had no standing. According to the court's summary, all parties acted a bit out of line, so the outcome doesn't seem too unfair. - LSW


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6. Bon Jovi's Golf Cart Attack
Highest Court D. New Jersey
Year Ended 2007
Plaintiffs Security Guard(s)
Defendants Bon Jovi
Tour Promoter(s)
Other No Other parties on file
Short Description After a fire broke out in the V.I.P. area backstage at a Bon Jovi concert, Plaintiff (a security guard) attempted to enforce an order to prevent people from entering the affected areas. When security personnel hired by Bon Jovi attempted to enter the blocked area, Plaintiff sought to prevent them. To this, Jovi's security guy yelled expletives at her and drove off, injuring Plaintiff's leg and heading off towards the off-limits areas. Plaintiff sued Bon Jovi, his entities, and the security guard who injured her. Defendants removed the case to federal court, alleging diversity jurisdiction, but Plaintiffs sought to remand to state court. Because it is possible Plaintiff fraudulently joined New Jersey defendants to avoid diversity jurisdiction, the court allowed the federal discovery process to proceed. Of course, Bon Jovi is from New Jersey, so where's the fraud? - LSW


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7. Bodyguard: "I'm R. Kelly's Mentor!"
Highest Court N.D. Illinois
Year Ended 2007
Plaintiffs Individual(s)
Defendants Kelly, R.
Other No Other parties on file
Short Description The former security guard for R. Kelly claimed to have been more than hired muscle, but also a close friend and "mentor," who advised Kelly to learn a dance style known as "steppin,'" taught Kelly how to do the move, and helped Kelly write the song, "Step in the Name of Love." Plaintiff argued he'd offered his assistance and talents at a time when Kelly's public reputation was suffering, and, after the song and dance were released, Kelly's career was revitalized. Plantiff alleged Kelly promised him half the proceeds, and sued R. for breach of oral contract, unjust enrichment, fraud, and even assault. Kelly removed the case to federal court, saying Plaintiff's unjust enrichment claims were simply disguised copyright actions, and the court agreed. Misappropriation of Plaintiff's song and dance is either infringement or an argument for joint authorship, both falling within copyright's ambit, and does not contain the "extra element" necessary to remove it from exclusive federal jurisdiction. While the fraud, contract, and assault claims may stand, they will be tried in federal court as well. - LSW


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8. Lil' Kim Got a Lil' Problem with the Law
Highest Court New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division
Year Ended 2007
Plaintiffs Individual(s)
Defendants Individual(s)
Lil' Kim
Other No Other parties on file
Short Description Kimberly Jones, a.k.a. Lil Kim, was found to have defaulted in a lawsuit. She could not provide an excuse for failing to challenge the plaintiff's suit, and her lawyer's neglect was imputed to her. It is likely that this is a civil suit related to an incident in 1993 when Lil Kim's former band mate, Lil' Cease, and other members of the group Junior M.A.F.I.A. shot Michael Goody, the plaintiff in this suit. Apparently, Goody was talking too loudly on a cellphone for their tastes, and when he dialed another number, the men shot Goody, fearing he was calling for backup. - JMC


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9. Nelly's Staff Whoops On a Fan
Highest Court Superior Court of Connecticut
Year Ended 2006
Plaintiffs Concert Attendee(s)
Defendants Municipal Entity and/or Official(s)
Music Promoter(s)
Music Proprietor(s)
Nelly
Security Guard(s)
Security Service(s)
Universal Music Group
Other No Other parties on file
Short Description As owner of the "Chocolate City News, Plaintiff sent an employee photographer to Nelly's concert in Connecticut, whereupon the employee was purportedly assaulted by concert staff and rendered unable to photograph the concert. The photographer filed his own suit, but Plaintiff also sued (Defendants included Nelly, Universal Records, the City of Bridgeport, and the concert's proprietor and promoter), alleging essentially the same causes as his employee, including assault and battery, negligence, etc., which caused injury to his employee and economic injury to his business. All of Plaintiff's complaints were dismissed by the court; Plaintiff had failed to properly and/or timely serve numerous Defendants, and furthermore, none of his causes of action alleged valid legal theories. He was essentially suing for negligent damage to his business, but Plaintiff had not proved (not could he prove) that Defendant owed him or his business any duty, or that damage to his business would be a foreseeable consequence of their actions. - LSW


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10. Jadakiss & Styles P Stab Fan?
Highest Court Superior Court of Connecticut
Year Ended 2005
Plaintiffs Concert Attendee(s)
Defendants Jadakiss
Styles P
Other No Other parties on file
Short Description It's understandable that rappers must maintain a front of "street cred" to keep up with the competition, but this is an example of how it can go too far for what appears to be no reason at all. Plaintiff stole Jadakiss's jacket during a meet and greet in the parking lot following a concert, though Plaintiff alleged it was during "horseplay," not seriously intended as theft. Jadakiss, Styles P, and their entourage chased and caught Plaintiff (which seems to work against Plaintiff's horseplay defense), then beat him and--here's where it gets ridiculous--violently stabbed him. Not only did Plaintiff's stab wounds require hospitalization, the laceration was "so severe that [his] intestines protruded from his abdomen." Following the incident, Plaintiff suffered severe physical handicaps as well as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, according to the court's findings of fact. Defendant artists later referred to the incident in music released subsequent to the stabbing, assumedly boasting of their conquest. It is thus no surprise, with apparently uncontested facts as damning as these, that the court found for Plaintiff on his personal injury claims, and awarded over $700,000 damages. - LSW


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11. Puffy's Bodyguards Too Rough?
Highest Court Court of Appeals of North Carolina
Year Ended 2004
Plaintiffs Individual(s)
Defendants Combs, Sean
Other Blige, Mary J.
Short Description An injured concertgoer sued Combs for personal injury, alleging Combs' bodyguards improperly roughed him up, and the trial court entered default judgment, which the appellate court adjusted to an entry for default, because personal jurisdiction had not been established. - [This entry is not yet complete or has not been edited/checked.]


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12. Paramedic Hurt By Durst's Goading
Highest Court Court of Appeals of Michigan
Year Ended 2004
Plaintiffs Medical Professional(s)
Defendants Business Entity of Artist(s)
Limp Bizkit
Music Promoter(s)
Music Proprietor(s)
Security Service(s)
Other No Other parties on file
Short Description In a somewhat awkward decision (in our opinion) the Michigan court of appeals held Limp Bizkit owed no duty to a paramedic who'd been intentionally kicked in the head by one of Bizkit's fans, after lead singer Fred What's-His-Name invited audience members on stage during the performance. Relying on previous decisions relating to mosh pits at heavy metal concerts (see "Rock Fans Hurt by "Sod-Throwing"), the court held the band had no duty to anticipate the intentional acts of third parties. Interestingly, Bizkit was well known for inciting riots, particularly at Woodstock '99, when their song "Break Stuff" purportedly caused the melee that likely put an end to further entries in the "Woodstock" franchise. The court here held that Bizkit's duty (as with the promoters/proprietors/etc.) is limited to expediting their response to such activities, not preventing them. Judgment for Defendants, unfortunately. - LSW


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13. Constitutional Violations at Concert?
Highest Court S.D. Ohio
Year Ended 2003
Plaintiffs Concert Attendee(s)
Defendants Music Promoter(s)
Police Officer(s)
Other Cash Money Millionaires
Short Description When Cash Money Millionaires canceled their concert, Plaintiffs decided to leave before the crowd got rowdy. A fight broke out in front of the venue, and someone seems to have shouted that Plaintiffs had guns in their cars. Police officers stopped Plaintiffs and searched them and their car. Plaintiff's suit against concert promoters and police officers for violation of civil rights was dismissed. - LSW


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14. Manson Fan: "No Crotch Please!"
Highest Court D. Minnesota
Year Ended 2003
Plaintiffs Concert Attendee(s)
Defendants Marilyn Manson
Music Promoter(s)
Other No Other parties on file
Short Description It's always amusing how shock rock antics that seem so shocking when they occur simply sound absurd and hilarious when discussed in court opinions. This suit, perhaps more than any other, provides an example. During a concert performance, Marilyn Manson shoved his crotch repeatedly into the back of a first-row fan's head. The entire ordeal was caught on videotape, which apparently showed the fan smiling, "fist-pumping," and concluding the occurrence with a high five between the two. The fan, however, later sued for tortious conduct. In defense, Manson's camp pointed to Plaintiff's apparent approval of the behavior, as evidenced in the video. The court didn't agree, saying it was entirely possible "Plaintiff's apparent exultation during and in the wake of Manson's pelvic gyration was an attempt by Plaintiff to 'save face' in front of an enormous crowd." Thus, Manson's liability is up to the jury, says the judge. What's most disturbing is not that "the ol' crotch on the fan's head" is an actual cliche in the music industry, but that "the ol' fans want my crotch on their heads" is an actual defense musicians use. - LSW


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15. Ruffed Up at the Black Crowes Gig
Highest Court Sixth Circuit
Year Ended 2002
Plaintiffs Concert Attendee(s)
Defendants Municipal Entity and/or Official(s)
Music Promoter(s)
Police Officer(s)
Security Guard(s)
Other Black Crowes
Short Description Plaintiff sued Defendant for negligence after allegedly being assaulted by security guards and police officers at a Black Crowes concert in Detroit, Michigan. Plaintiff was awarded $1.2 million by a jury at trial, and Defendant appealed, seeking a new trial and arguing that the jury award was excessive. The court denied Defendant's motion for a new trial and held that the jury award was not excessive. - SKR


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16. Trouble at B.B.'s Restaurant
Highest Court W.D. Tennessee
Year Ended 1999
Plaintiffs Individual(s)
Defendants B.B. King's Blues Club
Municipal Entity and/or Official(s)
Police Officer(s)
Other King, B.B.
Short Description At B.B. King's restaurant in Memphis, TN, a customer was asked to leave and refused. During altercation with guards, customer was accidentally asphyxiated, and family sued. Defendants' motions for summary judgment dismissed. - [This entry is not yet complete or has not been edited/checked.]


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17. Coked-Out Fan Sues for Injury
Highest Court E.D. Pennsylvania
Year Ended 1998
Plaintiffs Concert Attendee(s)
Defendants Municipal Entity and/or Official(s)
Music Promoter(s)
Music Proprietor(s)
Security Service(s)
Other Mötley Crüe
Short Description Motley Crue's fans are a motley crew in and of themselves. In this hilarious case, Plaintiff was quite obviously a burnout and an idiot; he broke his neck while drunk, coked out, standing on a 4-foot-hight barrier, and resisting security guards' attempts to bring him down and prevent him from rushing the stage. He even punched one of the guards in the face. Furthermore, his neck was already fragile from a moronic attempt to jump across an eight foot pit at a construction site a year earlier (again while drunk). At that's not even an exclusive list. Jeez. The court was very kind, and excluded the cocaine and other evidence from trial. Nevertheless, unsurprisingly, the jury found that any negligence on Defendants' part was inconsequential. Plaintiff was remarkably negligent himself. According to the court, Plaintiff's lawyer was pretty bad too, spending many hours researching a futile argument against the court's rather routine practice of trial bifurcation, presenting appeals on issues never objected to at trial, and seeking to admit expert testimony from someone without knowledge of the subject of his testimony. All evidence was strongly, undeniably in Defendant's favor. - LSW


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18. Really, Really Ticked Photographer Keeps Suing (I)
Highest Court First Circuit
Year Ended 1996
Plaintiffs Photographer(s)
Defendants Capitol Records
Music Manager(s)
Music Promoter(s)
Music Proprietor(s)
State Entity and/or Official(s)
Other Ross, Diana
Segar, Bob
Short Description A photographer claimed that preventing his photography at public events constituted a violation of his First Amendment rights. The photographer had been prevented from taking pictures at concerts held at the Providence Civic Center when the venue's contracts with performers prevented photography. The photographer had frequently sued the promoters and others, often being dismissed for failing to comply with procedural rules. The Court upheld the dismissal of his latest claim for many reasons, but mostly dealing with the photographer's refusal to abide by rules. - JMC


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19. Jordan Knight's Bodyguard T.C.O.B.
Highest Court Court of Appeals of Georgia
Year Ended 1993
Plaintiffs Individual(s)
Defendants Band Member(s)
Other New Kids on the Block
Short Description Jordan Knight, a member of New Kids on the Block, allegedly struck and said something inappropriate to a woman at a bar. The woman asked the Plaintiff for help in resolving the situation. There was a serious difference regarding who struck first, the plaintiff or Knight's bodyguard. The appellate court reversed the judgment for Defendant, ordering a new trial, for several reasons. First, the jury instructions given by the judge concerning assumption of the risk did not apply in an intentional tort trial. The instruction might lead a jury to think there were defenses to the assault. Second, the Defendant improperly referred to the fact that the Plaintiff never filed his income taxes. Last, the court should have allowed the Plaintiff to present testimony from a person who would have testified to seeing Knight order his bodyguard to attack a person. This testimony was admissible to impeach Knight's assertion that he never ordered his bodyguard to hit anyone, let alone the Plaintiff. - JMC


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20. Red Hot Chili Penis Leads to Lawsuit
Highest Court Circuit Court of Virginia
Year Ended 1992
Plaintiffs Concert Attendee(s)
Defendants Music Manager(s)
Red Hot Chili Peppers
Talent Agent(s)
Other No Other parties on file
Short Description The Red Hot Chili Peppers were set to perform at George Mason University, and Plaintiff was among the students waiting outside the Peppers' room after their performance. The band members came out of the room, made some sexually disaparaging comments, and then lead singer Anthony Kiedas poked Plaintiff's cheek with his penis. Adding insult to injury, the band allegedly stole her car. Plaintiff sued the band members, which makes sense, but also sued their management company. Despite the common negligence rule that people do not owe duties to foresee or prevent the tortious or criminal conduct of third parties, Plaintiff argued the circumstances prevented an exception, because a "special relationship" existed between the band and their management. Though Kiedas is certainly amenable to suit (court's don't normally buy the "But it's a FAMOUS penis!" defense), the management company was found not liable; if any master-servant relationship existed, it was the mangement company that was the agent for the band, not vice versa, and no rule holds servants liable for the tortious conduct of their principal, when the servant was in no way involved. Defendant had not "taken charge" of the band members so as to create a duty to control them. - LSW


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