Insurance

 Insurance Coverage

In a society where litigation runs rampant, it’s always best to protect yourself from ever having to deal with those worst-case scenarios, especially if you’re the one in charge.

An event planner is like a general contractor: They’re at the top of the chain of responsibility and need to protect themselves in case of an accident. One of the area’s most suseptible to an issue is music production. There are speakers, cables, overhead lighting all of which the Event Organizer is liable for in the event of an accident concerning the audience, the volunteers, and yes, even the band.

 

It is for this reason that many venues and vendors won’t do business with an Event Organizer that does not have insurance and those that do simply don’t understand the risk involved in doing so.

 

This is why ProSound Consulting carries a $1,000,000.00 liability insurance policy. It protects us, the band, the event, as well as the Event Organizer in the case of an accident.

Here are 32 reasons your sound provider had better have Commercial Liability Insurance.  There is no shortage of lawsuits, I honestly just got tired of typing.  I will add more later as they do make for an entertaining read.

 

1. Negligence Case
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.
2. Temptations Fan Tripped at Gig
Plaintiffs: Concert Attendee(s)
Defendants: Harrah’s Entertainment, Music Proprietor(s), Temptations
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.
3. Opera Accident = Negligence
Plaintiffs: Concert Attendee(s)
Defendants: Metropolitan Opera Association, Zeffirelli, Franco, 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.
4. Metallica’s Mosh Pit Liability (II)
Plaintiffs: Concert Attendee(s)
Defendants: 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.
5. Band Member Injured at Gig
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.
6. Great White in Deep #@&^
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)
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.
7. McDaniel Falls Into Orchestra Pit
Plaintiffs: McDaniel, Mel
Defendants: Insurer(s), Municipal Entity and/or Official(s), Music Proprietor(s)
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.
8. Injured Fan Sues Band
Plaintiffs: Concert Attendee(s)
Defendants: Creed, Music Manager(s), Music Promoter(s), Music Proprietor(s), Radio Broadcaster(s), Wind-Up Records
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.
9. Old Timer Sues for Loud Rock Show
Plaintiffs: Concert Attendee(s)
Defendants: Concert Promoter(s), Fogerty, John
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.
10. Injury at STP Show in Illinois
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.
11. Ruffed Up at the Black Crowes Gig
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.
12. Rock Fans Hurt by “Sod-Throwing”
Plaintiffs: Concert Attendee(s)
Defendants: Music Promoter(s), Music Proprietor(s)
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.
13. Driver Injured at Leppard Gig
Plaintiffs: Individual(s)
Defendants: State Entity and/or Official(s), Other Def Leppard
Short Description: This is a negligence case for first year law students. Plaintiff was a member for Def Leppard’s road crew, responsible for driving one of the trucks carrying their massive (I’d expect) stage set-up at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. While walking to his truck, he tripped on forklift extensions allegedly sticking out over the sidewalk, and testified he hadn’t seen or expected them to be there. Plaintiff argued that Defendant (State of Illinois) had a duty to “exercise reasonable care regarding the condition of its premises,” and that notice was not required regarding unsafe conditions; Defendant argued notice was required. The court didn’t pick one, but found that Defendant had notice, since forklifts were exclusively operated by University personnel, and their notice was imputed to Defendant. Plaintiff was 60% at fault, however, so he only received $30,000, 40% of the damages calculated.
14. Injury at Doobies/Skynyrd Gig
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.
15. Broken Guardrail = Ozzy in Court
Plaintiffs: Concert Attendee(s)
Defendants: Insurer(s), Music Promoter(s), Music Proprietor(s), Osbourne, Ozzy
Short Description: A guardrail broke at an Ozzy Osbourne concert, resulting in injuries to fans, one of whom is the Plaintiff in this lawsuit. Plaintiff sued the concert promoters, venue, and Ozzy himself, alleging personal injury according to negligence theories. Defendant removed to federal court, alleging the amount in controversy exceeding $75,000. Plaintiff’s numerous procedural fumblings below (failing to prosecute, being unable to serve process properly on Defendants) resulted in a dismissal. In the end, the District Court held (and the Court of Appeals affirmed) that Plaintiff’s motion to reopen was filed “within a reasonable time” and that the amount in controversy was insufficient for federal diversity jurisdiction. remanded to state court.
16. Coked-Out Fan Sues for Injury
Plaintiffs: Concert Attendee(s)
Defendants: Municipal Entity and/or Official(s), Music Promoter(s), Music Proprietor(s), Security Service(s), Other Motley Crew
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..
17. Powerful Winds at Irma Thomas Gig
Plaintiffs: Concert Attendee(s)
Defendants: Blue Cross Blue Shield, City Entity and/or Official(s), Equipment Rental Service(s), Insurer(s), Music Promoter(s), Other Thomas, Irma
Short Description: This case ponders which parties, each somehow involved in the organization of a blues festival, should be held responsible for injuries resulting from terrible weather conditions that tore the event apart. Around 1,000 people were present at the “Let the Good Times Roll” festival in Shreveport, LA, at which blues matron Irma Thomas was the featured performer. Though weather forecasts warned about impending weather conditions during the event, off-duty police officers providing security at the gig weren’t aware of the severity until a warning “tone” alerted them at 8:45, at which time a 75 mph wind uprooted the tent and, as poles and signs went flying, injured some attendees. Fans sued, alleging Defendants failed to warn the audience of the impending weather conditions; Defendants argued they weren’t any more aware than the audience was. All witnesses testified that the sudden excitation in weather conditions (from clear and sunny at 8:00 to tumultuous at 8:45) were unexpected and uncommon, though all reasonable persons present were aware of the worsening weather conditions; Defendants owed no duty to remind crowd-members that the impending storm might escalate. Further, the wind gust, called a “micro burst,” was singly unpredictable; no warning could anticipate it. Given the unexpected nature of the specific occurrence, combined with the common understanding that thunderstorms may escalate, the court held the Defendants owed no duty to provide specific warnings that what did happen could have happened before it did. Though the trial court found for Plaintiffs on some issues, the appellate court found for Defendants on all.
18. Lewis Playboys Fan Injured
Plaintiffs: Concert Attendee(s)
Defendants Insurer(s), Municipal Entity and/or Official(s), Other Lewis, Gary (and His Playboys)
Short Description Plaintiff was among the numerous attendees eager to view Gary Lewis and the Playboys up close and personal at an event held on city property. After being personally injured during a surprisingly frantic dash to the front of the viewing area, Plaintiff sued the city, who argued they were not liable according to a statute limiting liability for injuries at “recreational events.” Wisconsin’s appellate court affirmed this event was not “commercial,” but “recreational,” and thus Defendant owed no duty. Still, why were people freaking out about Gary Lewis in the mid-1990s?
19. Injured at an Alabama Gig
Plaintiffs: Concert Attendee(s)
Defendants: Proprietor(s), Other Alabama, Nonprofit Organization(s), Promoter(s)
Short Description: While attending the “Alabama June Jam,” a concert put on by the rock band Alabama, Plaintiff slipped on a speed-bump and injured herself. However, she only sued the owner of the premises, who had leased the land “as is” to the band. The court found that Defendant did not owe any duty to Plaintiff other than to alert Plaintiff of dangerous conditions known to Defendant that were not easily discoverable or obvious to others. Plaintiff’s action dismissed for both reasons.
20. Neville Drummer Batters Eardrums
Plaintiffs: Band Member(s)
Defendants: Audio Personnel, Music Promoter(s), Music Proprietor(s), Product Manufacturer(s), Other Neville Brothers
Short Description: Plaintiff was the drummer for the Neville Brothers, who alleged that during a performance in Indiana, his drum monitors (in response to his request that they be louder) suddenly produced a loud noise that jarred him from his seat and caused permanent hearing damage, a 40% loss in hearing ability. Plaintiff sued the company that provided the audio equipment used on tour and hired the “sound guy,” who was also a named Defendant. In initial opinions, the court held that the Defendant sound provider was not liable for the sound guy’s negligence, as he was an independent contractor, not employee, and that any claims based on strict product liability were insufficient as Defendant was not a manufacturer, retailer, or seller. In response to Defendants’ next motion for summary judgment, the court found that Plaintiff had admitted there was not a shred of evidence showing any malfunction of the type described had actually occurred. Without evidence, Defendants’ summary motion was granted. The Seventh Circuit affirmed, saying–even though the fact was contended–there was simply no proof of any negligence by any Defendants, and thus nothing for them to rebut.
21. Alabama’s Injured Roadie
Plaintiffs: Sound Engineer(s)
Defendants Alabama, Music Promoter(s)
Short Description Plaintiff works as the sound engineer for Alabama, who was contracted to perform at an Ace Hardware convention by Defendant music promoters. When Plaintiff was injured, he sued Defendants, arguing that as an employee of Alabama, Defendants were not his employers, but merely acted as agents for Ace, and thus he should be allowed to sue in tort, and not under worker’s compensation. The court held that, according to the statute, Plaintiff was an employee of Defendants, and thus his action should be one of worker’s compensation.
22. Fan Injured At King of Pop’s Gig
Plaintiffs: Concert Attendee(s)
Defendants: MJJ Productions, Music Promoter(s), Music Proprietor(s), Security Service(s)
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.
23. Injured at Jethro Tull Gig
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.
24. Injured by Aerosmith’s Crazy Fans
Plaintiffs: Concert Attendee(s)
Defendants: Aerosmith, Madison Square Garden, Promoter(s), Warner Bros. Records
Short Description: Plaintiff, a woman that was punched in the nose during an Aerosmith concert at Madison Square Garden, sued the band, their record label, the venue, and others for willfully attracting “crazies” to the concert who were prone to violence. The parties settled outside of court, but only on the condition that Defendants could still pursue sanctions in court for Plaintiff bringing such a frivolous action. In the proceeding that followed, Plaintiff’s counsel narrowly avoided being sanctioned by the court for bringing the case, saved only by equally ridiculous cases elsewhere (like Ozzy getting sued for fans’ suicides) which provided some sliver of reasonableness to Plaintiff’s accusations.
25. Employee Injured at Rondstadt Gig
Plaintiffs: Employee(s)
Defendants: Asher, Peter, Equipment Transferer(s), Music Manager(s), Proprietor(s), Rondstadt, Linda, Sound-System Provider(s), Other Peter and Gordon
Short Description: A stage-hand working at a Linda Rondstadt concert, for whom Peter Asher (of the British-invasion duo Peter and Gordon) is manager, was injured while loading boxes into a truck in preparation for the show. Plaintiff sued the company in charge of lighting and stage effects, Showco, as well as Rondstadt and Asher, among others, alleging not just workers’ compensation, but general tortious negligence. The court found that Showco was not his “employer” for purposes of the act, but that general tort rules of vicarious liability are relevant. However, since Plaintiff was not a passenger of the vehicle, “no-fault” provisions are not relevant (which might protect Defendant from passengers’ injuries), and the case is remanded for damages calculation accordingly.
26. Injured Diana Fan Sues City
Plaintiffs: Concert Attendee(s)
Defendants: Film Producer(s), Municipal Entity and/or Official(s), Paramount Pictures, Other Ross, Diana
Short Description: This is one of those cases with facts that make you say “What the?!?” At a free Diana Ross concert held in Central Park, New York, at the behest of the City, Paramount arranged to videotape the performance for commercial release. According to Plaintiff (an injured fan), the audience was crammed in “like sardines,” when panic errupted, allegedly because some people started shouting, “get out of the way, there’s a lion, a lion!” (What the…?!?) In Plaintiff’s negligence action, the trial court granted summary judgment for Paramount and the City; Paramount was merely licensed to film the event and the City alleged, first, all responsibilities for security rested on the producer, and second, the tortious conduct of third parties was unforeseeable. The appellate division reversed, saying issues of triable fact existed. Whether the producer assumed responsibility to the city did not preclude the public from bringing suit, and, further, Defendant’s inability to anticipate the “precise manner of the accident,” like an escaped lion (What the…?!?) does not preclude liability. Paramount’s involvement also necessitated fact-finding before disposition. Back to trial.
27. Guitarist Sues Fats for Injuries
Plaintiffs: Back-Up Musician(s)
Defendants: Domino, Fats
Short Description: Plaintiff is the former guitarist for Fats Domino’s band, and was injured in an accident while on tour. He was advised by doctors to refrain from performing for three weeks. When he later rejoined the band, he was fired two different times for drug use and disagreeableness. He brought suit after the firings, initially in 1971, but didn’t serve Domino until 1976, and the trial didn’t start until the early 1980s. He requested tort damages and compensation under workers’ disability benefits. The court denied his action for tort liability, finding no basis for the claim, but granted workers compensation for three weeks’ pay, plus the medical expenses he could prove (immediately after the accident). Plaintiff wanted 500 weeks’ compensation, alleging the injury continued to affect him for years afterward, and that it led to his problems with drugs and alcohol. The court found these claims unsupported; three weeks and one doctors visit is all the compensation Plaintiff got.
28. Bobby Rydell’s Car Accident
Plaintiffs: Individual(s)
Defendants Family of Artist(s), Rydell, Bobby
Short Description This case never mentions that Defendant, Robert Ridarelli, is the 1950s/60s teen idol Bobby Rydell, and Defendant Camille Ridarelli, driver of the truck that injured Plaintiff, is Rydell’s longtime wife. Plaintiff sought to sue Bobby, alleging Camille was acting as his agent. The state’s supreme court found no justification for holding Bobby liable, there is no “family car” doctrine and the mere presence of Bobby’s possessions in the truck did not confer master-servant status on Bobby and Camille.
29. Fan Injured at Irma Thomas Gig
Plaintiffs: Concert Attendee(s)
Defendants: Insurer(s)
Music Proprietor(s), Other Thomas, Irma
Short Description: Lawsuits deriving from injuries at shows tend to make Plaintiffs seem disingenuous, whatever the truth may be. In this case, Plaintiff attended an Irma Thomas gig at a Louisina club, and alleged that, after standing on her chair to sing along to one of Irma’s tunes, she calmly sat down on her chair, at which point a door next to her, of which she was unaware, burst open and she careened onto the street outside. Defendants, understandably, claimed she fell while standing on her chair, and thus was contributorily negligent. After the jury found Defendants negligent and awarded Plaintiff $12,500 in damages, both parties appealed. The state’s appelalte court found no manifest error below; while Defendants’ argument seems plausible, the jury believed Plaintiff’s, which was also plausible, and thus the award was upheld. The damages, despite Plaintiff’s requests, were not increased, as they were based on reliable medical testimony.
30. Starship Fan Injured
Plaintiffs: Concert Attendee(s)
Defendants: State Entity and/or Official(s), Other Jefferson Starship
Short Description: Plaintiff attended a Jefferson Starship concert at Southern Illinois University’s Edwardsville campus, at which nearly 20,000 were in attendance. During the concert, Plaintiff was struck in the face by a firework lit by another member of the crowd. Defendants, the University and associated entities, had inquired of patrons whether they had drugs or alcohol, but had not specifically looked for fireworks, despite fireworks being lit among the crowd at nearly every previous concert. After the Plaintiff sued for negligence, the court held that Defendants had a duty to protect Plaintiff for known dangerous conditions, such as fireworks, and that Plaintiff had no duty to prevent or foresee the danger herself. Further, given Defendants’ knowledge of similar previous incidents, Defendants had a duty to anticipate and guard attendees from such activities, which they failed entirely. Judgment for Plaintiff was rendered for $10,000..
31. Three Dog Stagehand Injured
Plaintiffs: Stage Hand(s)
Defendants: City Entity and/or Official(s), Individual(s), Insurer(s), Music Proprietor(s), Three Dog Night
Short Description: A stage-hand at a Three Dog Night concert was injured by improper operation of a forklift, and sued pretty much everybody, including the band, the venue, the promoter, and his co-worker who contributed to the accident. The jury entered, and the court affirmed, a verdict for Plaintiff, against all the parties, including the band. The band appealed too late and was dismissed, and the venue moved to hold its indemnity insurer liable for its negligence, but the court found the individual responsible, while acting for the venue, was not an “employee” and thus not within their insurance policy.
32. Band Van Insured by Member
Plaintiffs: Stage Hand(s)
Defendants: Band Member(s), Insurer(s)
Short Description: This is a good case to illustrate the potential liabilities facing independent (and unsuccessful) bands while out on the road. Defendant was a member of a band called The Generation Gap, an obsure 1970s “acid rock” band from Florida. The band purchased a van from their earnings, decked it out, painted their name on the side, and toured independently, paying for gas and expenses from gig money. While out on tour, Defendant was driving the van when they were in an accident in which Plaintiff, presumably another driver, was injured. When Plaintiff sued, Defendant sought coverage by State Farm, alleging his insurance–which he’d taken out for his own personal vehicle, not the band’s van–was sufficient to cover the accident in which Plaintiff was injured. The court held that neither State Farm nor Defendant contemplated the policy would cover a “business” vehicle equitably owned and operated by the band for “business” purposes. The appellate court affirmed. Poor broke-ass Generation Gap had to cover liabilities themselves.