Gwen Stefani may be liable for a stampede which took place at one of her concerts in 2016 as a lawsuit filed by an injured fan moves forward.
In 2016, Stefani performed a show at the PNC Music Pavilion in Charlotte, North Carolina. She reportedly told the crowd, without consulting any venue staff or promoters, to come down to the stage.
“If anyone wants to come down a little closer so I can see you a little better, just come on down, I don’t think anyone’s going to care,” she said, according to the suit. Fans began to rush toward the stage, causing a stampede. She quickly retracted this statement after being told officials were losing control of the venue and told fans to go back to their seats.
In the mix of commotion, one attendee was trampled over and thrown into a wall, the lawsuit claims.
The fan injured, Lisa Stricklin, suffered from a “lateral tibial plateau fracture.” According to Billboard, a report reveals Stefani lost a summary judgement from the 2017 lawsuit. The judge deemed Live Nation, who promoted the show, not responsible for the accident, since they took safety precautions.
Stefani may be held responsible since her speech wasn’t protected under the first amendment, judge Robert Conrad of the Western District of North Carolina, said.
“Stefani’s statement was intended to prompt action; it was not intended to further the marketplace of ideas or to aid in the common quest for truth and the vitality of society as a whole,” he said, Billboard reports.
“A jury could find that Stefani could have anticipated the reaction that her statement would prompt: thousands of people, many of whom were consuming alcohol, to descend toward the stage immediately,” he wrote. “It is foreseeable that in this mass movement, someone could get hurt.”
The judge noted that Stricklin couldn’t get punitive damages, but because of the fracture, could have a case of negligence against Stefani. Both parties will have to return to court next year to face a new trial, set to begin on February 19, the report states.