Nearly 400 lawsuits against Travis Scott, Live Nation Entertainment, and other entities involved with the Astroworld Festival in Houston have been combined into a single action. The consolidation, which was requested in December, was formally approved by the Texas Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation on January 26. The combined lawsuit will reportedly represent nearly 2,800 victims.
The bundle was agreed upon by both side of the litigation, and will dramatically reduce the effort involved for the defendants, who can focus their efforts on the multitude of essentially identical claims into one defense. At stake are potentially billions of dollars in damages. The judge who will handle the case has not yet been announced.
“Transfer of all of these lawsuits to a single pretrial judge for consolidated and coordinated pretrial proceedings will eliminate duplicative discovery, conserve resources of the judiciary, avoid conflicting legal rulings and scheduling, and otherwise promote the just and efficient conduct of all actions,” read the motion to combine the lawsuits filed late last year.
A flurry of litigation has taken place in the wake of Astroworld, which saw ten concertgoers die and hundreds of others injured after crowded conditions led to a “crush” situation on the event’s first night while Travis Scott and Drake were performing. Plaintiffs have sought to hold Scott, Drake, Live Nation Entertainment, NRG Park, and other vendors involved in the event responsible for the deaths, injuries, and other trauma in the wake of the tragedy.
Since the event, Scott has largely withdrawn from public performance, while Live Nation has taken a battering in the court of public opinion. Coverage has focused on the company’s history of injuries at events it has promoted, allegedly lax safety training before the event, and the length of time between when officials recognized that a “mass casualty” event had occurred and the concert being halted.
As a result of the criticism, the House Oversight Committee announced it would conduct a bipartisan probe of the event and Live Nation’s actions. It sent CEO Michael Rapino a harsh letter in the process, demanding answers to numerous questions as well as a hearing, which has been pushed back from January to February at the company’s request.
“Concert attendees have provided firsthand accounts of being crushed within the crowd as it surged towards the stage,” the letter read. “Live Nation Entertainment (Live Nation) was the concert promoter reportedly responsible for ‘planning, staffing, putting up money, securing permits, finding vendors, communicating with local agencies,’ for Astroworld Festival.”
The letter referred to reports that “raise serious concerns” about whether the company “took adequate steps” to keep the crowd safe.
Scott, Live Nation and other defendants have largely denied responsibility for the tragedy, requesting that the lawsuits be dismissed.