Fourteen patrons and three workers – one who suffered a fractured spine – injured at Snoop Dogg’s High Road Tour concert in Camden on August 5th allege in a complaint filed today that the sudden collapse of a metal railing at the BB&T Pavilion was foreseeable, according to trial attorneys Robert J. Mongeluzzi, of Saltz, Mongeluzzi, Barrett & Bendesky, P.C., and Steven G. Wigrizer, of Wapner Newman, P.C., whose firms represent the victims. Live Nation Entertainment, the global venue operator and event promoter, is named in the filing along with headlining artists Calvin Broadus, Jr. (aka Snoop Dogg), and Cameron Thomaz (aka Wiz Khalifa) in the first lawsuit filed following the incident.
“Our clients, and many others who attended the concert, were seriously injured because of the negligent conduct of the defendants who failed miserably in their duty to protect the audience and workers from harm,” said Mr. Mongeluzzi. “Today’s filing (Case No. 160803137- Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas) begins the legal process where we will prove that all of those responsible knew that the ‘second stage’ located behind the main seating was positioned directly beneath the lawn area and lacked barricades, seats, or aisles which would have prevented crowd surge.”
Mr. Wigrizer added, “Every plaintiff has asked us to do all we can to help prevent a reoccurrence through the litigation. Pure luck – not thoughtful planning by Live Nation (LYV:NYSE) or anyone else – is the only reason nobody died in that terrifying incident.”
Mr. Mongeluzzi and his trial team that includes Andrew R. Duffy, Jeffrey P. Goodman, and J. B. Dilsheimer, added, “Based on our investigation, this was the perfect storm of a railing failure and it was memorialized in countless videos that we continue to obtain from eyewitnesses.” He said one of those videos, recorded by a plaintiff, clearly shows Snoop Dogg imploring the fans, tightly packed onto the lawn, to come toward him and the fragile fence, positioned ten feet above a moat/walkway in front of the stage.
One of the plaintiffs, a member of the security detail, was directly under the railing when it snapped; the poorly maintained barrier and the crowd came crashing down on him. The security officer’s extensive crush injuries included a fractured spine, which required major surgical repair. He needs a second operation and can expect continuing medical attention as a direct result of the incident.
Contrary to initial reports of only one serious injury, there were scores of significant crush injuries among the 40-plus victims rushed to local hospitals. Among just the group of 17 victims named in today’s lawsuit, documented serious injuries included: six concussions, one fractured vertebrae, a fractured collarbone, two head wounds closed with staples, broken bones in the wrist and foot, and numerous lacerations, contusions and recurring head and neck pain.
Mr. Duffy commented, “Live Nation was ultimately responsible for ensuring that its guests were safe and secure. There is no excuse for Live Nation permitting a clearly hazardous stage configuration within close proximity to a clearly inadequate railing above a steep six-foot drop off onto a concrete walkway. It does not take an engineer to conclude this was danger to concertgoers.”
Mr. Goodman explained the decision to include the performers among the defendants. “Mr. Broadus and Mr. Thomaz incited and inflamed the crowd by yelling for everyone on the lawn to rush toward a flimsy railing, which was all that separated the fans from the dangerous drop off and the poorly placed second stage.”
The attorneys said the tragedy is similar to what occurred in 1998 at Philadelphia’s Veteran’s Stadium (long demolished) during the Army-Navy Game when a cadet almost died in that disaster. SMBB filed a personal injury-negligence lawsuit in the case that settled before trial for $1.05 million. They have also represented clients in numerous fatal construction/demolition disasters including the fatal: Philadelphia Pier 34 collapse, Atlantic City Tropicana parking garage collapse, and Philadelphia Salvation Army Thrift Store collapse.