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1. A Perfect Negligence Case
Highest Court Court of Appeals of Texas
Year Ended 2010
Plaintiffs Concert Attendee(s)
Defendants Aramark
Clear Channel
Concert Promoter(s)
Hyatt, Corp.
Music Proprietor(s)
Security Service(s)
Other A Perfect Circle
Icarus Line
Short Description Injured audience members can be quite a liability. However, there are certain legal protections that prevent them from extorting Defendants for ludicrous reasons. Plaintiff was injured at a concert by A Perfect Circle, during the opening act, a lesser-known L.A. band called The Icarus Line. After the audience purportedly booed the band, its singer launched water bottles into the crowd, one of which hit Plaintiff, who was injured and supposedly became disabled. Plaintiff did not sue the band, however, but numerous entities related to the show's organization, alleging negligence, gross negligence, and improper security or preparation given the circumstances of the concert. However, well-established tort principles prevent Plaintiffs from sustaining negligence actions against Defendants for the tortious or criminal conduct of third parties, unless certain specifications are met, such as the third-party conduct being unreasonable and foreseeable or the Defendant having actual knowledge of the conduct. In this case, the venue proprietor's motion for summary judgment was granted by the trial court and Plaintiff appealed. The appellate court affirmed, finding that the show's proprietor had no reason to foresee the band's behavior; the security service was an independent contractor hired by the proprietor, not an employee or agent; and the proprietor did not know and did not have reason to know of the actions that injured Plaintiff. Furthermore, Plaintiff's motion for a continuance was also denied. - LSW

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2. Band Member Injured at Gig
Highest Court Supreme Court of Kansas
Year Ended 2007
Plaintiffs Band Member(s)
Defendants Municipal Entity and/or Official(s)
Music Proprietor(s)
Other Ranch Hands
Short Description Plaintiff's musical group, The Ranch Hands, are a local band contracted by Defendants to perform at a New Year's Eve ball. While loading equipment, Plaintiff slipped on ice and fell, breaking some bones. The trial court found for Defendants on ordinary negligence claims, holding the "recreational use" immunity applied. While the appellate court reversed, the Kansas Supreme Court agreed with the lowest court. Only gross negligence claims, not immunized by the protective doctrine of "recreational use," will go to trial. - LSW

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3. Dave Matthews's "Gross Negligence"
Highest Court N.D. Illinois
Year Ended 2005
Plaintiffs Chartered Boat(s)
Defendants Bus Driver(s)
Matthews, Dave (Band)
Other No Other parties on file
Short Description (Note: read this entry to the end or you'll miss the whole point.) While driving over the river running through downtown Chicago, Dave Matthews' tour bus dumped gallons of human waste, knowing it would fall through the grates in the bridge underneath, which it did. Of course, underneath the bus was a cruise ship, and the waste landed on passengers enjoying their sunny summer afternoon on the water. According to the court "a foul-smelling, brownish-yellow liquid [] drenched the vessel and dozens of its passengers, getting into passengers' eyes, mouths, and hair and soaking their clothing and personal belongings." Unsurprisingly, the chartered boat company sued, alleging trespass, nusiance, intereference with business, negligence, and, of course, "gross negligence." Defendants moved to dismiss, saying Plaintiffs had not stated and could not state lost profits, as required by the "economic loss rule." The court disagreed, since the facts fit an exception for "sudden, dangerous or calamitous events," and refused Defendant's motion to dismiss trespass, nuisance, and negligence actions, all of which were sufficiently stated, but dismissed Plaintiffs action for "intentional interference with business realtions" for lack of intentionality. Regarding Plaintiff's action for "gross negligence," the court found no such tort existed in Illinois; dumping shit and piss on crusing yuppies might be negligence, but it's NOT "gross." Given the facts of the case, that seems comedically improper. Thus, not only is this a great case discussing the parameters of tort law, it's an interesting exercise into the difference between "coincidence" and "irony." Which is it? You decide.- LSW

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