May 20th, 2024

9 of 10 wrongful death suits over Astroworld concert crowd surge have been settled, lawyer says


By Juan A. Lozano, The Associated Press on May 8, 2024.

FILE - Visitors cast shadows at a memorial to the victims of the Astroworld concert in Houston on Nov. 7, 2021. Nine of the 10 wrongful death lawsuits filed after deadly crowd surge at the 2021 Astroworld festival have been settled, including one that was set to go to trial this week, an attorney said Wednesday, May 8, 2024. (AP Photo/Robert Bumsted, File)

HOUSTON (AP) – Nine of the 10 wrongful death lawsuits filed after a deadly crowd surge at the 2021 Astroworld music festival have been settled, including one that was set to go to trial this week, an attorney said Wednesday.

Jury selection had been set to begin Tuesday in the wrongful death suit filed the family of Madison Dubiski, a 23-year-old Houston resident who was one of 10 people killed during the crowd crush at the Nov. 5, 2021, concert by rap superstar Travis Scott.

But Neal Manne, an attorney for Live Nation, the festival’s promoter and one of those being sued along with Scott, said during a court hearing Wednesday that only one wrongful death lawsuit remained pending and the other nine have been settled, including the one filed by Dubiski’s family.

Noah Wexler, an attorney for Dubiski’s family, confirmed during the court hearing that their case “is resolved in its entirety.”

Terms of the settlements were confidential and attorneys declined to comment after the court hearing because of a gag order in the case.

The one wrongful death lawsuit that remains pending was filed by the family of 9-year-old Ezra Blount, the youngest person killed during the concert. Attorneys in the litigation were set to meet next week to discuss when the lawsuit filed by Blount’s family could be set for trial.

“This case is ready for trial,” Scott West, an attorney for Blount’s family, said in court.

But Manne said he and the lawyers for other defendants being sued were not ready.

State District Judge Kristen Hawkins said she planned to discuss the Blount case at next week’s hearing along with potential trials related to the injury cases filed after the deadly concert.

Hawkins said that if the Blount family’s lawsuit is not settled, she is inclined to schedule that as the next trial instead of an injury case.

More than 4,000 plaintiffs filed hundreds of lawsuits after the concert. Manne said about 2,400 injury cases remain pending.

The announcement that nearly all of the wrongful death lawsuits have been settled came after the trial in Dubiski’s case was put on hold last week. Apple Inc., which livestreamed Scott’s concert and was one of the more than 20 defendants being sued by Dubiski’s family, had appealed a court ruling that denied its request to be dismissed from the case. An appeals court granted Apple a stay in the case.

In the days after the trial stay, attorneys for Dubiski’s family settled their lawsuit with all the defendants in the case, including Apple, Scott and Live Nation, the world’s largest live entertainment company.

At least four wrongful death lawsuits had previously been settled and announced in court records. But Wednesday was the first time that lawyers in the litigation had given an update that nine of the 10 wrongful death lawsuits had been resolved.

Lawyers for Dubiski’s family as well as attorneys representing the various other plaintiffs have alleged in court filings that the deaths and hundreds of injuries at the concert were caused by negligent planning and a lack of concern over capacity and safety at the event.

Those killed, who ranged in age from 9 to 27, died from compression asphyxia, which an expert likened to being crushed by a car.

Scott, Live Nation and the others who’ve been sued have denied these claims, saying safety was their No. 1 concern. They said what happened could not have been foreseen.

After a police investigation, a grand jury last year declined to indict Scott, along with five others connected to the festival.

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Follow Juan A. Lozano: https://twitter.com/juanlozano70

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