Astroworld: Everything we know about lawsuits facing Travis Scott and Live Nation

Travis Scott and organisers of Texas event now facing hundreds of lawsuits from victims

Holly Bancroft,Graeme Massie
Monday 08 November 2021 10:20
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Lawsuits Begin to Pile Up Against Travis Scott, Astroworld Organizers

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Rapper Travis Scott and the organisers of Astroworld are now being sued in hundreds of lawsuits brought by the families of victims and concertgoers injured at the fatal concert.

Nine people died and hundreds more were injured after the crowd surged towards the stage on the first night of Travis Scott’s two-day festival in Houston, Texas.

At least 50,000 people attended the event and there have been reports that people hopped turnstiles and fences to get into the sold-out festival without tickets.

There have now been at least 140 lawsuits filed against the organisers, with 50 already initiated against Live Nation Entertainment Inc and Scott, who has said he is “devastated” by the tragedy.

And one Texas lawyer has even predicted that the damages for victims could end up being in “the billions.”

Here’s an explanation of who has filed a lawsuit and why:

Fan knocked to ground and seriously injured

Manuel Souza was the first victim to file a lawsuit against Scott. Mr Souza said he suffered “serious bodily injuries” when the crowd at the Astroworld concert “knocked him to the ground and trampled him”.

He is seeking at least $1m (£742,000) in damages and names Live Nation, organiser ScoreMore, Travis Scott and several others in the suit, according to a petition filed in Harris County District Court.

The lawsuit, which has been obtained by American magazine People, said: “Tragically, due to Defendant’s motivation for profit at the expense of concertgoers’ health and safety, and due to their encouragement of violence, at least eight people lost their lives and scores of others were injured at what was supposed to be a night of fun.”

It continued: “Plaintiff’s injuries were the inevitable and predictable result of Defendants’ conscious disregard of the extreme risks of harm to concertgoers that had been escalating since hours earlier.”

History of allegedly inciting riots

Lawyers for Mr Souza noted Scott had a history of allegedly inciting riots at his shows. The rapper pled guilty to disorderly conduct after a number of people were injured at one of his concerts in May 2017.

He was also arrested and charged with disorderly conduct in 2015 after allegedly encouraging fans to climb over security barriers and rush the stage. According to local media, the police stopped Travis Scott five minutes into his performance over concern for concertgoers safety.

The lawsuit over the events at Astroworld argued that “this kind of behaviour has long been encouraged by the festival’s founder and main performer, Defendant Jacques Webster a.k.a Travis Scott.”

It continued: “Scott actively encourages his fans to ‘rage’ at his concerts. His express encouragement of violence has previously resulted in serious violence at numerous past concerts.”

Fan suing over ‘permanent injuries’

Kristian Paredes, 23, is also bringing a claim against Travis Scott, singer Drake, Live Nation, and others, over the violence, MailOnline reported.

According to the complaint, guest star Drake “came on stage alongside Travis Scott and helped incite the crowd”. Mr Paredes is reportedly seeking over $1m in damages for injuries he claims are permanent.

The lawsuit alleged that the injuries and deaths were caused by “negligence, carelessness and recklessness” of the “defendants, their agents, servants and employees, in the ownership, management, maintenance, operation, supervision, and the control of the subject premises.”

Ben Crump now representing more than 200 people

Civil rights attorney Ben Crump says that he and other lawyers are now representing a group of 200 victims “who were injured mentally, physically and psychologically at the Astroworld festival.”

Texas lawyer says damages could end up costing ‘billions’

Attorney Thomas J Henry of San Antonio, Texas, is representing more than 100 victims in a lawsuit against Travis Scott, Drake, Live Nation, and NRG stadium.

“While we are all still working to understand the full scope of the Astroworld tragedy, I believe the damages suffered by its victims could total in the billions,” Mr Henry said earlier this week.

What has Travis Scott said?

The musician issued a statement after the tragedy, saying: “I’m absolutely devastated by what took place last night. My prayers go out to the families and all those impacted by what happened at Astroworld Festival.

“Houston PD has my total support as they continue to look into the tragic loss of life. I am committed to working together with the Houston community to heal and support the families in need. Thank you to Houston PD, Fire Department and NRG Park for their immediate response and support.”

What happened?

Signs of potential crowd-control issues came earlier in the day on Friday, when people were reportedly hopping turnstiles and fences to enter the sold-out festival without tickets – which led to a crowd size organisers were unprepared for and overwhelming medical units.

“Travis Scott himself did stop the show several times to point out people near the front who were in distress or needed help and he would get security to come and help them,” Joey Guerra, a music critic for the Houston Chronicle who was at the event, told BBC Radio 5. “I don’t think he was aware of the extent of what was going on.”

Another attendee told KHOU: “In the front, there was a lot of jumping. If you didn’t jump, you would fall and get trampled on, definitely. The crowd is pushing back and forth. If you were even a little tired, you were going to fall.”

Trouble began some time after 9pm when the crowd compressed near the stage, causing panic, according to Houston fire chief Samuel Pena.

By 9.30pm it was clear people needed medical attention, and Scott acknowledged an ambulance moving through the crowd, pausing and encouraging the crowd to make room, but reportedly later returned to performing. The event was shut down by 10.10pm.

All Saturday performances were cancelled following the Friday night tragedy, and 13 people remained hospitalised on Sunday as authorities continued investigations into what caused the deadly event.

What have authorities said?

At least two investigations, one criminal, are underway following Friday night’s tragedy.

Houston city police chief Troy Finner said his department had opened a criminal investigation by homicide and narcotics detectives, following reports that somebody in the audience had been injecting people with drugs.

Investigators are expected to examine the design of safety barriers and the area around the stage and the use of crowd control in determining what led to the crush of spectators at the music festival.

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