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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. Labels Encourage Remy's Gangsterism?
Highest Court New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division
Year Ended 2010
Plaintiffs Concert Attendee(s)
Defendants Music Publisher(s)
Record Label(s)
Remy Ma
Universal Music Group
Other No Other parties on file
Short Description Defendant is Remy Ma, a female hip-hop artist allegedly known for her violent personality and music. Plaintiff was at Ma's birthday party, and, after a dispute erupted between the two, Ma shot Plaintiff in the stomach at close range. Plaintiff sued Remy Ma, but also included Ma's record label, music publisher, and assorted other music entities. Regarding the associated companies, Plaintiff alleged they negligently promoted her antisocial and dangerous behavior, and that signing her to a record contract constituted negligent hiring. Prior to this opinion, Ma was convicted of criminal assault, among other things. After Ma sought to stay this suit pending appeal of the criminal conviction, which the court denied (the verdict in the criminal trial was final, not pending, even if appeals were possible), the court found that the assorted music entities were not Ma's employer and could not be held liable for Ma's persona or behavior. Even if Plaintiff could show that the Defendants were Ma's employers, the contracts defining their relationship allegedly expired before the shooting incident, so there could be no liability anyway. - LSW


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3. 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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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. Temptations Fan Tripped at Gig
Highest Court N.D. Mississippi
Year Ended 2008
Plaintiffs Concert Attendee(s)
Defendants Harrah's Entertainment
Music Proprietor(s)
Temptations
Other No Other parties on file
Short Description A person who tripped over a light cord at a Temptations Concert sued the Temptations, their agent, and the casino. Apparently, the house lights had been turned back on at the end of the show. The agent for the band was granted summary judgment against the tort claims. There was no evidence the agent had responsibility for or knowledge of the light cords emplaced in the venue. - JMC


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6. Oldies Say: "Honor Our Contracts!" (II)
Highest Court New York Supreme Court
Year Ended 2003
Plaintiffs Artist(s)
Chambers Brothers
Coasters
Drifters
Main Ingredient
Defendants Bertelsman Music Group (BMG)
Sony Music
Time Warner, Inc.
Universal Music Group
Other No Other parties on file
Short Description Following the earlier, complex holding in "Oldies Say: 'Honor Our Contracts!' (I)," in which the Court of Appeals remanded the District Court's dismissal on these same facts, the New York trial court and its Appellate Division here found for Defendants. The issue was whether Defendants breached any contractual or fiduciary duties to Plaintiffs (members of the Chambers Brothers, Coasters, Drifters, and Main Ingredient) when they distributed their earlier-recorded songs digitally, through MP3.com and others. In this suit, New York's courts held the initial recording agreements, which granted Defendants "the unrestricted right to manufacture, use, distribute and sell sound productions of the performances recorded hereunder made by any method now known, or hereafter to become known," plainly granted Defendants the rights to distribute the songs digitally. Thus any actions arising from Defendants' digital releases could not survive dismissal. Further, Defendants were indeed allotting Plaintiffs money earned from digital sales (and lawsuits brought against downloading entities). Defendants complied with the plain language of the contract, and breached no other duties to Plaintiffs, so other state claims, such as breach of good faith/fair dealing and negligence, were dismissed as well. Despite numerous holdings, the initial District Court holding and the final ruling in state court were in agreement. That's a lot of wasted time, money, and paper. - LSW


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7. Injury at STP Show in Illinois
Highest Court Court of Claims of Illinois
Year Ended 2003
Plaintiffs Concert Attendee(s)
Defendants Music Promoter(s)
Police Officer(s)
State Entity and/or Official(s)
Other Stone Temple Pilots
Short Description Stone Temple Pilots fans sued the State of Illinois and a music promoter for injuries sustained at a concert held on state fairgrounds, allegedly inflicted by moshing, crowd surfing, and other common activities at grunge gigs. Plaintiffs' claims against the promoter (JAM) had been previously dismissed, so the remaining issue was whether Illinois owed duties to prevent such actitivies, to protect audience members from them, and to provide "adequate security." Plaintiffs were unable to show thjat the state owed "law enforcement duties" to do so, and the court similarly held that premises liability accusations failed. Though the law imposed a duty on Plaintiffs to warn and protect the audience from raucous crowd behavior it reasonably knew would occur, the audience was already invariably aware of it as well, and no evidence showed Defendants anticipated or responded negligently. There was no way Defendants could have predicted the enormity of the crowd and the intensity of its reaction. Though, perhaps, Defendants might be expected to be better prepared at future concerts, they can't be said to have been negligent here. Further, under a comparative negligence rubric, Plaintiffs failed to claim, much less prove, that they hadn't also anticipated the apparently inevitable danger flannel-clad crowds presented. Plaintiffs were at least as negligent as Defendants, if Defendants were negligent at all. - LSW


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8. Philly Producers: "Negligent Lawyers!"
Highest Court S.D. New York
Year Ended 2003
Plaintiffs Business Entity of Artist(s)
Holland, Dozier, Holland
Defendants Lawyer(s)
Other No Other parties on file
Short Description The Holland brothers, the songwriters behind many of Motown's greatest hits in the 1960s, sued a NY investment bank for breach of contract, fraud, and negligent supervision in connection with securitization transactions relating to future stream of the brothers' music royalties. The court held that the brothers' breach of contract and fraud claims were not barred by collateral estoppel, but held that they failed to show that Defendant was negligent in supervising its senior officer in connection with the securitization transactions. - SKR


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9. 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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10. Oldies Say: "Honor Our Contracts!" (I)
Highest Court Second Circuit
Year Ended 2002
Plaintiffs Artist(s)
Chambers Brothers
Coasters
Drifters
Main Ingredient
Defendants Arista Records
Atlantic Records
Bertelsman Music Group (BMG)
Columbia Records
Elektra Records
MCA Records
MP3.com
Polydor Records
RCA Records
Sony Corporation
Time Warner, Inc.
Universal Music Group
Warner Bros. Records
Other No Other parties on file
Short Description Members of the Main Ingredient, the Chambers Brothers, the Coasters, and the Original Drifters sued record companies for copyright and trademark infringement, among numerous other state actions, saying their contracts in the 1950s, 60s, and 70s did not authorize record labels to digitize their analog recordings. The District Court granted judgment for Defendants, dismissing Plaintiffs' complaints, finding the initial contracts assigned to Defendants "the unrestricted right to manufacture, use, distribute and sell sound productions of the performances recorded hereunder made by any method now known, or hereafter to become known." This expansive language was held sufficient to grant rights to digital reproductions. Further, Plaintiffs' efforts to rephrase their complaints alternatively under the Lanham Act were rejected; any association implied by MP3.com's use of Plaintiffs' bands' names on their website was "nominative," merely listing the content provided. On appeal, however, the Second Circuit vacated the lower court's holding. Regarding the licenses easily interpreted below, the appellate court held that the "motion to dismiss" should have been converted to a motion for summary judgment, because the court considered extrinsic evidence (their union's rule code) relating to the intended meaning the word "recording" in the initial contract, which may only have related to phonograph recordings. Regarding these and the Lanham claims, the Court of Appeals told the District Court to consider whether to grant Plaintiffs an opportunity to replead and present sufficient evidence to support their complaints. However, on remand, the District Court held it lacked jurisdiction anyway, dismissing the Lanham claims and finding the copyright-related claims to be issues of contract interpretation. A state case, "Oldies Say: 'Honor Our Contracts!' (II)," was subsequently brought in New York state court, which found similarly to the District Court's original holding here - LSW


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11. Dru Hill Fan Hurt at Show
Highest Court Court of Appeal of Louisiana
Year Ended 2001
Plaintiffs Concert Attendee(s)
Defendants Insurer(s)
Municipal Entity and/or Official(s)
Music Promoter(s)
Other Dru Hill
Short Description An attendee at a rap concert injured himself while descending stairs during Dru Hill's performance. Plaintiff sued the concert's promoter and the city for negligence, but not the artist himself. Judgment for Defendants. - [This entry is not yet complete or has not been edited/checked.]


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12. Loverboy's Music Inspire Violence?
Highest Court Court of Appeals of South Carolina
Year Ended 2001
Plaintiffs Concert Attendee(s)
Defendants Music Proprietor(s)
Other Loverboy
Short Description Loverboy's only involvement in the suit was that they happened to be playing at Defendant's venue on the night of the incident at issue. Plaintiff was injured by another patron in the parking lot, who threw a billiard ball into a moving car, striking it's passenger. In determining whether Defendant's venue should have had more significant security presence, the court actually considered the content of Loverboy's lyrics, which purportedly encourage drugs and alcohol, and thus could form the basis for an increased need for security measures. In the end, the appellate court held there was no evidence supporting a negligence claim. - LSW


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13. Rock Fans Hurt by "Sod-Throwing"
Highest Court Supreme Court of Michigan
Year Ended 2001
Plaintiffs Concert Attendee(s)
Defendants Music Promoter(s)
Music Proprietor(s)
Other No Other parties on file
Short Description At two different outdoor concerts, featuring Bush and the Ramones at one, and Metallica, Suicidal Tendencies, and Danzig at the other, audience members were allegedly injured by "sod throwing" amongst the crowd. Two cases arose when two different attendees, one from each show, sued the promoters and proprietors for negligence regarding care of the land itself, as well as the Defendants' precautionary measures. The two cases initially concluded differently, one holding Defendants had a duty to prevent the "sod throwing," since they'd had prior such incidents, and the other holding they did not. In a consolidated decision, the Michigan supreme court held that the venue was liable for responding reasonably to events occurring on their premises, but that a duty did not arise from knowledge of previous incidents, since criminal acts of third parties are not the Defendants' responsibility. Given the circumstances, the court found for both venues, thus reversing one and affirming the other, finding Defendants' response to the incidents were reasonable, even if lacking. - LSW (ed. - JMC)


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14. Injury at Doobies/Skynyrd Gig
Highest Court Missouri Court of Appeals
Year Ended 2000
Plaintiffs Concert Attendee(s)
Defendants Investor(s)
Music Promoter(s)
Music Proprietor(s)
Other Doobie Brothers
Lynyrd Skynyrd
Short Description Plaintiff attended a concert in Missouri to see the Doobie Brothers and Lynyrd Skynyrd, at which Plaintiff had a tiff with a "long-haired gentleman," who proceeded to assault Plaintiff with a bottle. Plaintiff sued the venue and various other parties involved in the promotion and execution of the event, alleging they were liable for the long haired gentleman's actions. The court granted summary judgment for Defendants; in Missouri there is generally no duty to anticipate the tortious or criminal acts of third parties unless 1) the perpetrator is a repeated and expected offender, or 2) there exists a "special relationship" between Plaintiff and Defendant, such as when Defendant is induced to rely on Plaintiff's measures. While 55 similar assaults (though only one with a bottle) had been reported at similar concerts, Defendants had no specific knowledge of the long-haired gentleman or his propensity for violence. Further, the court denied Plaintiff's request to amend their complaint to assert claims as "third party beneficiaries" of Defendants agreements amongst themselves. - LSW


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15. Police at Fault for Concert Trampling?
Highest Court New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division
Year Ended 1999
Plaintiffs Concert Attendee(s)
Defendants Combs, Sean
Educational Institution(s)
Municipal Entity and/or Official(s)
Police Officer(s)
Other No Other parties on file
Short Description In 1991, before Sean "Puff Daddy"/"Puffy"/"P. Ditty" Combs was the uber famous rapper, producer, and mogul he is today, he hosted a celebrity basketball game at the City College of New York, co-coaching the two teams with Heavy D, which resulted in an idiotic stampede amongst the attendees that killed nine people and injured others. Apparently, the stampede resulted when fans tried to rush into the event, which might have been oversold or inadequately staffed. Puffy and Heavy were held liable, though this case only dealt with the liability of the State of New York and the police department, who were present at the event, which was held on State-owned property. The court held the state and municipal entities were shielded from liability under governmental immunity; to hold them liable, Plaintiffs would need to show the government assumed responsiblity for planning, security, or management of the event. This was not shown. They were acting in their usual capacity at the time. For the resulting insurance coverage dispute, see "Puff and D's Stampede Insurance." - LSW


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16. 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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17. A Tragedy For Boyz II Men (II)
Highest Court N.D. Illinois
Year Ended 1997
Plaintiffs Estate of Music Manager(s)
Defendants Hotel Corporation(s)
Other Boyz II Men
Music Manager(s)
Short Description Concurrently with the criminal trial brought against the gunman in this incident, the family and estate of Boyz II Men's road manager sued several corporations, one controlling the hotel at which his murder took place and another that wwas responsible for hiring some of the group responsible for the attack, alleging various forms of negligence. The court held that the hotel corporation had indeed breached a duty to provide adequate security, and this breach may have proximately caused the death. However, the court held no action for negligent hiring or negligent training existed against the company who'd hired the group (some worked at the hotel in various capacities), thus barring direct actions by Plaintiffs and third-party complaints by Defendants. - LSW


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18. Fan Injured At King of Pop's Gig
Highest Court Fourth Circuit
Year Ended 1993
Plaintiffs Concert Attendee(s)
Defendants MJJ Productions
Music Promoter(s)
Music Proprietor(s)
Security Service(s)
Other No Other parties on file
Short Description Plaintiff was waiting to use the restroom at a Michael Jackson concert in Landover, Maryland, when a couple nearby had a physical altercation that resulted in Plaintiff being knocked over and injured. She received a "Smith fracture" in her right arm, and sued just about everyone involved in putting on the concert, including Jackson's corporate entity, the promoter, proprietor, et. al., alleging her injury was a direct result of Defendants' negligence. The court held for Defendants. Landowners only owe duties to exercise reasonable/ordinary care and to protect invitees from dangers either known or discoverable through reasonable care. Regarding third parties' tortious conduct (as here), landowners are held to higher standards of care only if a "special relationship" exists, as with common carriers. None of the Defendants had a reason to anticipate this behavior, and all reasonable care was taken, including the hiring of more than 200 employees to monitor events, and no "special relationship" existed. - LSW


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19. Injured at Jethro Tull Gig
Highest Court Court of Common Pleas of Pennsylvania
Year Ended 1993
Plaintiffs Concert Attendee(s)
Defendants Music Promoter(s)
Music Proprietor(s)
Other Jethro Tull
Short Description After a Jethro Tull concert in Pennsylvania, Plaintiff was robbed in the parking lot which, according to available indicia, contained inadequate security to prevent such an occurrence. Two defendants are relevant to this case, the proprietor of the event and the company hired to handle parking, since the attack occurred in the parking area. Defendants settled for $150,000, but submitted to a non-jury determination for the issue of which party was responsible for how much damage. The court found the proprietor mostly responsible (4/5 of the award), saying agreements between the two parties, which had continued for years, made no reference to the parking company needing to provide security in the parking lot. After both parties appealed, the court upheld the division of damages, saying all evidence reasonably lead to the prior conclusion; the concert's proprietor exercised control over the parking situation and overall running of the concert, and split the costs 50/50 with the parking company. The court's division was not an abuse of discretion. - LSW


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20. Billy Joel's Management Hell (III)
Highest Court New York Supreme Court
Year Ended 1993
Plaintiffs Joel, Billy
Defendants Frank Management
Lawyer(s)
Other Spouse of Artist(s)
Short Description Billy Joel sued his manager for numerous counts. The trial court dismissed, but the appellate court reversed. In a follow-up case, Joel's wife, Christie Brinkley, dismissed a counter-complaint by management for tortious interference with contract. - [This entry is not yet complete or has not been edited/checked.]


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