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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. Star's Memorabilia Scam Busted
Highest Court W.D. Tennessee
Year Ended 2009
Plaintiffs Family of Artist(s)
Freeman, Bobby
Defendants Individual(s)
Journalist(s)
Newspaper Publisher(s)
Other No Other parties on file
Short Description Plaintiff Robert Gallagher is better known by the name Bobby Freeman, with which he had several R&B hits. Apparently Mr. Freeman has had a history of perpetrating fraudulent transactions involving musical memorabilia from artists like Elvis Presley. He was sued in multiple states by multiple parties and received negative publicity in Defendant newspaper's pages. Plaintiff sued various parties alleging, essentially, they had defamed him (although he brought numerous other counts) through their statements and publications. The court found for Defendants on all counts. - LSW


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4. 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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5. 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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6. 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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7. 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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8. Operaccident = Negligence?
Highest Court S.D. New York
Year Ended 2008
Plaintiffs Artist(s)
Defendants Metropolitan Opera Association
Zeffirelli, Franco
Other Verdi, Giuseppe
Short Description This sort of lawsuit is common among rock musicians--people are always falling over, slipping off stages and into holes, etc., which is no surprise given how drunk rockers often are. But this suit involves the fancy world of opera, specifically the Metropolitan Opera Association of New York and famed film director and opera producer, Franco Zeffirelli, not dirty stages and scruffy venues. Plaintiff was an opera singer who fell from a raised part of the stage onto the lower section below, sustaining serious injuries. Plaintiff sued the Association and Zeffirelli for negligently designing and maintaining the stage. Before suing Defendants directly, he filed a workers' compensation claim, from which medical bills were paid. But no amounts for lost compensation were granted. Defendants argued that Plaintiff was an "employee" according to the state workers' compensation statute, and thus workers comp claims were his exclusive remedy. The court found that Plaintiff was plainly an employee under the statute, which includes anyone "engaged in the performing arts who performs services as such for a . . . theatre . . . or similar establishment," unless employed by someone else. The words of the statute, legislative history, and existing precedent all supported a reading of the statute that included Plaintiff within the statutory category. Furthermore, Plaintiff already sued under workers comp auspices; he cannot claim the benefits without accepting the limitations of the statutes. Cause dismissed. - LSW


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9. Metallica's Mosh Pit Liability (II)
Highest Court Court of Appeals of Indiana
Year Ended 2007
Plaintiffs Concert Attendee(s)
Defendants Lawyer(s)
Other Business Entity of Artist(s)
Metallica
Miller Brewing
Music Promoter(s)
Music Proprietor(s)
Security Service(s)
Sports Organization(s)
Talent Agent(s)
Short Description Plaintiff in the underlying lawsuit was a concert attendee, personally injured in the mosh pit of a Metallica concert, who sued the band, the venue, and others in Ohio more than five years earlier (see "Metallica's Mosh Pit Liability (I)"). In the lawsuit, the Plaintiffs' lawyers, seeking to litigate outside their licensed jurisdiction, sought local counsel to aid in litigation. After the case was apparently settled, the Plaintiffs' original lawyers seem not to have reimbursed their local associated counsel, since the latter sued the former for nonpayment of legal fees, asking them to provide security for an attorney fee lien on the proceeds of the settlements. However, while case law supports the entrance of an attorney fee lien, it does not justify requiring security (in the form of a posted bond paid out-of-pocket), and thus the original lawyers will not be required to do so. Had the action been filed prior to settlement, perhaps a prospective lien could have ensured payment to the local counsel, but given the facts in the instant case, it would not be appropriate. The trial court's order requiring the posting of a bond was reversed. - LSW


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10. 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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11. Great White in Deep Shit
Highest Court D. Rhode Island
Year Ended 2006
Plaintiffs Concert Attendee(s)
Estate of Concert Attendee(s)
Defendants Anheuser-Busch
Clear Channel
Great White
Individual(s)
Insurer(s)
Multiple Corporation(s)
Municipal Entity and/or Official(s)
Music Manager(s)
Music Promoter(s)
Music Proprietor(s)
Radio Station(s)
Record Label(s)
Shell Oil
State Entity and/or Official(s)
Other No Other parties on file
Short Description After Great White's pyrotechnics caught fire in an outrageously under-prepared venue in Rhode Island calledThe Station, over 100 deaths resulted, as well as several hundred injuries. No surprise then, it also resulted in about as many lawsuits. This entry covers a large swath of these suits, each of which addresses various parties and their roles in the horrific accident, including the band, their companies, state entities, the venue and others. While not everyone was liable, the venue was certainly subpar regarding building codes, and the band were a bunch of jack-asses (not necessarily legally). Lighting off fireworks in a club with less than 500 people. Seriously. Oughtta be ashamed. - [This entry is not yet complete or has not been edited/checked.]


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12. McDaniel Falls Into Orchestra Pit
Highest Court Court of Appeal of Louisiana
Year Ended 2006
Plaintiffs McDaniel, Mel
Defendants Insurer(s)
Municipal Entity and/or Official(s)
Music Proprietor(s)
Other No Other parties on file
Short Description When McDaniel fell into an orchestra pit at a concert and suffered serious physical damages, he sued for negligence and tort liability. The trial court found the singer 65% at fault and city only 15% at fault, but the appellate court found these percentages to be in error. - [This entry is not yet complete or has not been edited/checked.]


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13. 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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14. Injured Fan Sues Band
Highest Court Superior Court of Connecticut
Year Ended 2005
Plaintiffs Concert Attendee(s)
Defendants Creed
Music Manager(s)
Music Promoter(s)
Music Proprietor(s)
Radio Broadcaster(s)
Wind-Up Records
Other No Other parties on file
Short Description Plaintiff was an attendee at a Creed concert who was injured by moshing fans after the crowd's behavior apparently spiraled out of control. Plaintiff sued the promoter, venue, and individual band members for injuries inflicted by third parties at the concert, alleging that high energy music causes violent behavior and that the band not only knows this, but actively incited the crowd but failed to respond appropriately. Though the Plaintiff's cause of action was framed as a breach of Creed's duty to "anticipate" such physical activities among the audience (the band allegely actively sought its fans to behave recklessly), the court denied the band's motion for summary judgment for slightly different reasions; actions by band members could reasonably be viewed as contributory factors to the injury, and they may not have responded appropriately when the crowd's behavior became dangerous, and thus might have breached a duty of care. - LSW


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15. Jurassic Tour Bus Accident
Highest Court California Court of Appeal
Year Ended 2004
Plaintiffs Business Entity of Artist(s)
Jurassic 5
Defendants Bus Driver(s)
Private Transporter(s)
Other No Other parties on file
Short Description Jurassic 5 leased a private bus for their upcoming tour, and the driver was hired by the band. When the bus had an accident that resulted in injuries to band, this lawsuit ensued, with the band arguing Defendant transportation company and bus driver were responsible. The Defendants argued that Plaintiffs, through their corporation, had employed the bus driver, and thus were his statutory "employer" at the time of the accident, according to the contract between them. If this were true, Plaintiffs would have no cause of action, as they would be responsible for his actions. While the court held the contract between the parties clearly made the driver the band's employee, it did not necessarily find the contract binding on the individual members themselves. Thus, the band members may have causes of action against the Defendants individually. The court reversed the lower court's judgment for Defendant on all counts. - LSW


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16. 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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17. Old Timer Sues for Loud Rock Show
Highest Court New York Supreme Court
Year Ended 2003
Plaintiffs Concert Attendee(s)
Defendants Concert Promoter(s)
Fogerty, John
Other No Other parties on file
Short Description Here's one for record books. Plainitff is 50-year-old attorney who allegedly attended his fair share of rock concerts back in the day. However, he swears, none of them were ever as loud as was the John Fogerty show he'd recently attended at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York. After asking numerous concert employees to turn the loud concert down, Plaintiff left the gig and sued the concert promoter, proprietor, and John Fogerty himself for permanent hearing damage. Noting this to be the only case of its kind in the history of rock n' roll, the court tried to feign sympathy, but found Plaintiff's complaint absurd. Not only did Defendants have no duty to observe specific volume levels, they had no notice of which volumes would be considered too loud. (The amps go to 11 for a reason, after all). Furthermore, by attending and staying through much of the concert, Plaintiff clearly assumed the risk, even if he left early. Nothing in the complaint states anything valid. It's a pretty great case though. - LSW


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18. 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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19. 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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20. 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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