The flood of lawsuits stemming from Friday night’s fatal Astroworld crowd-control disaster topped 19 as of Monday afternoon in Harris County District Court in Texas. All named concert producer Live Nation as one of the lead defendants, with most also going after rapper Travis Scott.
Festival goer Kristian Paredes is seeking at least $1 million from Live Nation, Scott and even Drake in one of the suits, alleging Drake joined Scott as a surprise onstage guest and “helped incite the crowd” to a level that was “out of control.”
Paredes was at the front of the general admission section, felt an “immediate push” when Scott took the stage at 9 p.m. and was “severely injured” in the “stampede” that ensued, the nine-page lawsuit states.
“For 38 minutes, Travis Scott and Drake were performing after there was already a disaster emergency declared. These particular performers should have simply stopped and been part of the solution, not increasing and throwing gasoline on the fire,” Paredes’ lawyer Thomas J. Henry tells Rolling Stone. “We believe they were negligent.”
Patrick Stennis sued Live Nation as well as Scott, the rapper’s record label Cactus Jack and the Harris County Sports & Convention Corporation with claims he was “trampled, crushed and lost consciousness” when he was swallowed by the surging crowd. Stennis is now suffering physical pain, mental anguish and disability leading to medical bills and lost wages, his filing claims.
Lawyers Ben Crump and Robert and Alex Hilliard filed two negligence lawsuits for festival attendees that notably left Scott off the list of those considered at fault. In an interview Monday, Alex Hilliard said his firm was close to filing complaints for “10 to 15” other plaintiffs and expects to represent more than 100 concertgoers by Friday. He said Scott “may be named” in one or more of those as “the facts reveal themselves.”
“There will be hundreds of plaintiffs by Friday, if not thousands. I have one client who gave a stranger CPR for an hour before anybody even got to him. Obviously, by the time medical personnel got there, it was too late. He said, ‘I can heal from a broken arm, but I’ll never heal from this.’ This is such a unique, rare and unprecedented case,” Alex Hilliard told Rolling Stone.
“We understand at least nine people on site had the ability to shut the concert down and didn’t,” he added. “This is involuntary corporate manslaughter as far as we’re concerned.”
The first two lawsuits filed by Crump and Hilliard’s firm were on behalf of concertgoers Illhan Mohamud and Noah Gutierrez. They’re seeking at least $1 million each with claims concert promoters Live Nation and ScoreMore Holdings, as well as security contractor Contemporary Services Corporation, bear responsibility for the anarchic atmosphere that claimed the lives of eight people, injured hundreds more and left witnesses traumatized at NRG Park.
Mohamud’s suit says she was in the crowd “when suddenly and without warning, she became trapped in the middle of a crowd surge.”
“As the crowd continued to surge forward toward the stage at Astroworld, [Mohamud] and thousands of other concertgoers were pushed, shoved, elbowed, kicked along with being suffocated,” the filing states. “As plaintiff attempted to stay conscious and escape the crowd, she was forced to witness several concertgoers who [were] being crushed, trampled and killed within very close proximity.”
Gutierrez was in the VIP section of Scott’s performance when he was “suddenly forced to watch in terror as several concertgoers were injured and killed as a result of a crowd surge,” his lawsuit claims.
“Despite the chaos which defendants were aware of or should have been aware of, defendants failed to stop until over 40 minutes after city officials said the ‘mass casualty event’ had begun,” the Gutierrez lawsuit claims. Gutierrez “experienced severe and lifelong emotional trauma” related to what he saw, his paperwork states.
Lawyer Sean A. Roberts filed a flurry of lawsuits on behalf of at least 10 people who attended the show. They all name Live Nation and Scott as defendants.
Natasha Celedon’s lawsuit filed by Roberts claims she was “seriously and permanently injured by the recklessness and conscious indifference of the defendants.” It says Live Nation and Scott failed to provide proper security, causing “several stampedes and a crowd compression” that led to the injuries and loss of life.
Roberts filed similar lawsuits on behalf of Dante Deberardino, Patrick Polier, Wasem Abulawi, Marielena Chavez, Priscilla Hernandez, Brianna Garcia, Cortius Broussard, Tobenna Okezie and Tiffany Delgado.
Festivalgoer Cristian Guzman and his lawyer Vuk Vujasinovic filed a suit Monday that also petitioned the court for a restraining order that would bar Live Nation, NRG Park and the Harris County Sports & Convention Corporation from modifying or disposing of any evidence of possible negligence. Guzman claims he was “seriously injured” at the concert and has suffered “disfigurement, physical pain and mental anguish.”
A rep for Live Nation did not immediately reply to a request for comment on the lawsuits.
The first reported complaint was from concertgoer Manuel Souza, who says he suffered “serious bodily injuries when the uncontrolled crowd at the concert knocked him to the ground and trampled him.”
His paperwork includes images of the chaotic crowd from earlier in the day and says the deadly surge was a “predictable” result after raucous concertgoers “breached a security gate around the park, stampeded into the premises and trampled over everyone.”