Live Nation Accused of “Delay Tactics” by Astroworld Plantiffs Live Nation Accused of “Delay Tactics” by Astroworld Plantiffs
A lawyer representing more than 1,500 concertgoers for the Astroworld Festival has accused Live Nation of “delay tactics” in the complex legal proceedings surrounding... Live Nation Accused of “Delay Tactics” by Astroworld Plantiffs

A lawyer representing more than 1,500 concertgoers for the Astroworld Festival has accused Live Nation of “delay tactics” in the complex legal proceedings surrounding the tragedy which saw ten die and hundreds of others injured in a crowd crush at NRG Park in Houston. Brett Coon of Brent Coon & Associates accused the entertainment giant of trying to slow down the legal process by moving that the Texas Supreme Court in Austin stay all Astroworld cases temporarily and have the the State Judicial Panel on Multi-District Legislation make a decision on consolidation rather than the local system in Harris County, where the event took place in November.

Consolidating the massive legal proceedings for pretrial motions was initially put forward earlier this month by representatives of ASM Global, a fellow defendant of Live Nation Entertainment in the cases. While Live Nation reportedly moved to have the decision handled at the statewide level, the Board of Judges of the Civil Trial Division of the Harris County District Courts in Houston granted an expedited request by Coon to have all pretrial matters handled in a single court, overseen by state District Judge Kristen Hawkins, filed in the wake of the California entertainment giant’s efforts to bring the matter to state court instead.

“This consolidation will promote the expeditious and efficient administration of justice,” the two-page order said.

Coon explained the filings in a release:

“Our firm has handled many other ‘mass torts’ around the country, and sometimes a request to a state or federal Multi-District Litigation Panel is necessary to get all the cases into one court for uniformity of rulings and elimination of the redundancy that would occur otherwise. That said, Harris County has its own sophisticated protocol for handling these issues without outside intervention. The only explanation for Live Nation’s action is to delay these proceedings and deny the plaintiffs swift discovery, trial, and – ultimately – justice.

 

We filed a request for the Board of Judges in Harris County weeks ago to consolidate these on their own Order, which would eliminate the necessity of all of the two dozen civil judges in Harris County to each have to deal with the same docket and discovery issues with the cases filed in their own courtrooms. But in light of Live Nation’s action, we filed a supplemental motion earlier this week to expedite consideration. Thankfully, the Board quickly and without a hearing, ordered all the cases to be consolidated and assigned the docket of Judge Kristen Hawkins, who presides over the 11th District Court of Harris County in Houston.

 

Now that Judge Hawkins has the oversight of all of the cases, we have asked her to hold Dec. 13 for a status conference on the entire docket with all lawyers, which will give us an opportunity to start organizing the case between all the litigants and their counsel and start working on the extensive amount of discovery that a case of this magnitude will entail. There are many good lawyers on both sides of this case, and we look forward to working with all of them to get to the bottom of what happened and why it happened, and not only achieve some form of recourse for our clients, but to provide some additional assurances that this will not ever happen again.”

A sprawling legal battle over Astroworld and who could be legally responsible has dominated headlines in the last month, as those impacted by the tragic events have sought to hold those responsible to account. Live Nation’s spotty safety record has drawn increased scrutiny, but it and other defendants have denied responsibility for the deadly conditions that led to the crowd surge. Live Nation’s stock prices (NYSE:LYV) have been on something of a roller-coaster throughout the process, plummeting from all-time high marks near $125 per share just prior to the festival in November down closer to $100 of late – as concerns over the legal liability from Astroworld and concerns regarding the resurgent COVID case numbers and potential increases on crowd restrictions increase.