Dozens of lawsuits have been filed already following Saturday’s tragic Astroworld concert in Texas, where eight died and hundreds were injured in a crowd “crush” as Travis Scott performed. Scott, fellow performer Drake, and promoter Live Nation Entertainment have all been targeted in the legal actions, all filed in the first business day following Saturday’s show.
Negligence by the event organizers and possible encouragement of dangerous crowd behavior from the headlining performer seem to be common accusations in the lawsuits filed thus far, which are expected to reach into the hundreds as litigation gains steam.
“It’s going to be a massive case,” Muhammed S. Aziz told Billboard. Aziz, a Houston attorney who represented victims of the Route 91 Harvest Festival in 2017, estimated that Saturday’s event would draw hundreds of individual claims and would likely lead to a nine-figure award. “The facts here are egregious.”
In the instance of the Route 91 tragedy, where a heavily armed man opened fire from a hotel window on festival attendees in Las Vegas, killing 58 and wounding hundreds more, the settlement of claims from victims was $800 million. It saw a similarly rapid filing of lawsuits that this week has seen in the wake of Astroworld.
“There’s some assumption of risk in a concert, but not that you’re going to be crushed to death at a venue that’s overcrowded,” Aziz said. “If you go into a mosh pit and get hurt, that’s one thing. But the more stories you hear, these people just had nowhere to go.”
Lawsuits will likely lean heavily on the fact that Live Nation Entertainment has developed a troubling history of serious breaches in event safety in the last 20 years, which could be argued to show a pattern of promoting profit over safety. And the artist has a documented history of encouraging bad behavior among his fans, in an effort to roil the crowd to high-energy status. Scott was arrested in 2015 in Chicago after he allegedly encouraged Lollapalooza crowd members to ignore security barricades and make their way to the stage. He saw similar charges in 2017 after shows in Arkansas and New York, with even the last Astroworld in 2019 seeing injuries to concert attendees ignoring safety measures and charging towards the stage with his encouragement.
Those who died in the crowd ranged in age from 14 to 27, with at least 13 more hospitalized over the weekend.
In one lawsuit filed Monday, a concertgoer is seeking $1 million in damages citing negligence and emotional distress. It was filed by attorney Ben Crump on behalf of Illhan Mohamud and names Live Nation as the defendant.
“When the concert started, Plaintiff was in the middle of the crowd when suddenly and without warning, she became trapped in a deadly crowd surge,” a court document said. “Crowd surges are extremely dangerous events that can occur at large concerts when too many people are packed together into too small of a space.”
Another lawsuit against Scott accuses organizers of “conscious disregard of the extreme risk of harm to concertgoers that had been escalating since hours earlier.”
News of the tragedy, and the quick pile-up of lawsuits caused Live Nation’s stock (NYSE:LYV) to take a sharp drop this week, slipping to $117.50 by market close Monday and trading even lower as of Tuesday morning (approximately $115.50 at mid-day) – but still much higher than the same time last week before prices spiked following positive earnings numbers from Q3 2021.