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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. Snoop's Joint & The Butterfly Effect
Highest Court D. Massachusetts
Year Ended 2009
Plaintiffs Music Proprietor(s)
Defendants No Defendants on file
Other Snoop Dogg
Short Description The owner of a club at which Snoop was supposed to play had to file for bankruptcy. Among other reasons for the owner's financial situation, he cited the Snoop concert, saying Snoop showed up over three hours late, lit a joint that set of smoke detectors, then left without ever playing, resulting in an angry crowd and bad publicity. It appears Snoop settled for $12,000, but the club filed for Bankruptcy anyway. That's the Snoop we all know and love. - LSW


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3. Paul Wall Gig Raided
Highest Court Fifth Circuit
Year Ended 2009
Plaintiffs Individual(s)
Music Proprietor(s)
Defendants Police Officer(s)
Other Wall, Paul
Short Description As this court opinion makes clear, racism among governmental entities is not a thing of the past, though perhas we'd like to think it is. In the world of music, where racial lines sometimes delineate musical genres' intended populations, these prejudices may unfairly impact people who create, support, and promote specific genres. Hip-hop music, of course, is often the preferred target. In this case, Plaintiffs were two individuals who owned and operated Club Retro, a hip-hop club in Alexandria, Louisiana, operating legally under license from all appropriate agencies. Specifically, the Retro was allowed to admit patrons between the ages of 18 and 21, so long as they did not drink alcohol. The club took appropriate precautions to prevent the admission of illicit drugs, firearms, etc., and complied with governmental restrictions. Regardless, Club Retro was the subject of an excessive, violent S.W.A.T.-style raid, in which a group of police officers burst into the club with shotguns, handguns, and protective gear, physically, verbally, and arguably sexually assaulted numerous Plaintiffs, detained attendees for hours on end, denied patrons access to bathrooms, searched the entire establishment and everyone there, and committed other egregious acts in the process. Despite the intensity of the raid, the club, at the time the officers arrived, was operating legally: it was NOT overcrowded (only 500 people were there, though the capacity neared 700); underage patrons, who were fined by the officers, were present under governmental sanction; and only 7 people (less than 1%) were found with any illicit drugs, which is likely less than at a Phish gig. To make matters worse, the police blockaded a second concert, featuring Paul Wall, the following month, which prevented all but 67 people from attending. Plaintiffs sued, alleging First, Fourth, and Fourteenth Amendment violations, and the governmental entities claimed "qualified immunity." Thankfully, the federal courts sided with Plaintiffs regarding Fourth Amendment accusations: the officers' actions were not supported by and plainly exceeded any administrative or inspective authority claimed by Defendants, and, in citing underage drinking and fire code violations as jusitications, the raid, arrests, and searches and seizures were objectively unreasonable and unsupported by even an inkling of probable cause. However, the court refused to find Defendants liable under First and Fourteenth Amendments, despite the officers' use of racial epithets during the raid. Though it's sad Defendants were allowed excuses for some of their actions, it's good to know their unacceptable behavior was sanctioned to a large extent. - 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. 50 Cent Polices his Trademarks
Highest Court S.D. Florida
Year Ended 2008
Plaintiffs 50 Cent
Defendants Music Promoter(s)
Music Proprietor(s)
Other G-Unit
Short Description 50 Cent sued the owners of a nightclub in Cancun, Mexico, for using his image and likeness and the G-Unit mark (commonly used on 50 Cent's merchandise) to advertise, promote, endorse, and draw attention to the nightclub. The Court dismissed Defendant nightclub owners' motions to dismiss for lack of subject matter and personal jurisdiction, as well as Defendant's motion for forum non conveniens. - SKR


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6. Using J-Lo Without Permission
Highest Court S.D. Florida
Year Ended 2008
Plaintiffs Music Publisher(s)
Defendants Individual(s)
Music Proprietor(s)
Website Proprietor(s)
Other Estefan, Gloria
Lopez, Jennifer
Short Description The music publisher that owned the song "Let's Get Loud," written by Gloria Estefan and performed by Jennifer Lopez, sued a nightclub called Coco Bongo in Cancun, Mexico, and associated entities and individuals, for using the song in their commercials online and on television. In Defendants' advertisements for the night club, they commonly used likenesses of American celebrities, largely because their clientele is at least 50% U.S. citizens vacationing in the area. Defendant sought to dismiss for lack of subject matter and personal jurisdiction, as well as failure to state a claim on which relief could be granted. The court held subject matter existed, even though Defendant's activities with largely extraterritorial, because Defendant's website, which infringed Plaintiff's rights, was accessible in the U.S. and Defendant advertised actively within the U.S. Personal jurisdiction existed through the website, which was interactive and clearly aimed at U.S. citizens, as well as Defendants' agents' presence at trade shows and advertisements with Florida agencies. Lastly, because the website and ads clearly appropriated Plaintiff's copyrighted sound recording, a valid claim for infringement had been stated. Motion to dismiss denied. - LSW


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7. 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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8. 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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9. No Parking At N SYNC Gig = Lawsuit
Highest Court Appellate Court of Illinois
Year Ended 2007
Plaintiffs Concert Attendee(s)
Defendants Music Promoter(s)
Music Proprietor(s)
N SYNC
Other No Other parties on file
Short Description Plaintiff was a concert attendee for an N SYNC concert at the Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Illinois. Assuming the trip would take 25-30 minutes, Plaintiffs left at 6:30 for the 7:30 concert, but were not parked until 9:30, after encountering traffic and parking issues well beyond what they'd anticipated. Plaintiff sued, attempting to bring a class action lawsuit on behalf of the ticket purchasers who'd missed portions of the show (some of whom wrote letters), alleging contract breaches and common law consumer torts. After Plaintiffs failed to agree to Defendants' proposed settlement, the court refused to certify the class, holding there were no predominate issues of fact between those who arrived five minutes late and those who missed the entire show. The band members were not susceptible to personal jurisdiction, and, furthermore, Plaintiff's claims were substantively inadequate; there were no contractual guarantees or misrepresentations to form the basis for Plaintiff's complaints. Icing on the cake: Plaintiff already won a small-claims arbitration award against them for the price of the tickets. Perhaps assuming 25-30 minutes to drive to and park at a 40,000 person event was a bit unreasonable. - LSW


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10. Nugent Gig Canceled After Racist Remarks
Highest Court Court of Appeals of Michigan
Year Ended 2007
Plaintiffs Amboy Dukes
Nugent, Ted
Defendants Individual(s)
Music Promoter(s)
Music Proprietor(s)
Other No Other parties on file
Short Description Ted Nugent (The Nuge) was scheduled perform at Defendants' concert venue in Michigan, when the local community expressed dissatisfaction at racist remarks The Nuge allegedly made publicly about African- and Asian-Americans. When Defendants cancelled the concert and released an official statement providing their reasons for the cancellation, The Nuge sued, alleging breach of contract, libel and slander (for the press release), and various other claims. After the trial court submitted only the contract claim to the jury, Nuge was granted $80,000, which was the contract price, minus 25% he would have had to pay his manager. The state's appellate court affirmed: Nuge failed to provide any allegedly defamatory statements calling him a racist, since Defendants' press release merely acknowledged they were reacting to the public, which "attributed" the statements to The Nuge. Plaintiffs had properly stated a case for breach of contract, based on an oral contract formed between the parties. Regarding unfair competition and unjust enrichment claims, Plaintiffs had failed to state causes of action. Plaintiffs' evidentiary objections were also ignored, and the lower court's entire holding was upheld. Racist or not, The Nuge was $60,000 the richer. - LSW


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11. 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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12. Stones Fans Sue For Cancelation
Highest Court S.D. New York
Year Ended 2007
Plaintiffs Ticket Purchaser(s)
Defendants Jagger, Mick
Live Nation
Music Proprietor(s)
Rolling Stones
Ticketmaster
Other No Other parties on file
Short Description When the Rolling Stones canceled a performance due to Jagger's sore throat, a concert-goer brought class action lawsuit on behalf of ticket purchasers of canceled concert. Dismissed. - [This entry is not yet complete or has not been edited/checked.]


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13. 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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14. 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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15. 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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16. 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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17. 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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18. Van Halen Show's Low Sales
Highest Court C.D. California
Year Ended 2005
Plaintiffs Music Promoter(s)
Van Halen
Defendants Individual(s)
Music Proprietor(s)
Other No Other parties on file
Short Description Yessup Touring is the corporate entity that arranges tours for the massively-popular schlock rockers, Van Halen. According to Plaintiffs, Van Halen had arrangements to perform at the Baltimore Orioles' stadium, but the Orioles (Defendants) canceled the concert, and thus Halen sued for breach of contract and promissory estoppel. Defendant cited low attendance figures and an unwillingness to pay for an opening act as reasons for the retraction. According to the Orioles, no contract existed, and negotiations were merely underway when Defendants changed their mind. Though the two parties appeared to reach an oral agreement at some point, Defendant alleged an additional offer was sent to Plaintiff, which wasn't accepted. If indeed another offer was sent, it is possible Halen's lack of acceptance terminated any previously reached agreements. Since certain communications between them could be interpreted as either "counteroffers" or "proposed addendums," genuine issues of triable fact existed, and Defendants' motion for summary judgment was denied. - LSW


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19. 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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20. "Viva Nash Vegas" Infringed?
Highest Court Court of Appeals of Tennessee
Year Ended 2002
Plaintiffs Hamilton, George
Defendants Music Proprietor(s)
Other No Other parties on file
Short Description George Hamilton, IV, not to be confused with the ever-bronze actor George Hamilton, supposedly invented the phrase "Viva Nash Vegas," in reference to the tinsel town vibe of Vegas and the country twang of Nashville. When Defendants, the Stardust Theater in Las Vegas, began using this name for a show featuring impersonators performing as country music legends, Hamilton offered a license, which they accepted but never paid. After numerous cease and desist letters, Hamilton sued, alleging his income dropped from $70,000 in 1998 to $30,000 in 1999, and this was due to Defendants' activities. The trial court awarded $90,000 in damages, which the appellate court reduced to $20,000, finding insufficient evidence to quantify his daily monetary loss, awarding only fees he could have received from licenses. - LSW


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