The first round of lawsuits – 31 of them as of Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. – hit the Harris County District Court dockets through late Monday evening charging a plethora of individuals, businesses and a non-profit organization with gross negligence and premises liability related to the tragedy that occurred Friday at the Astroworld Festival that killed eight people and injured hundreds of others.
Hundreds of additional complaints are expected to be filed in the coming weeks seeking hundreds of millions of dollars.
The defendants in the lawsuits include California-based Live Nation and its subsidiaries, which promoted and produced the festival, and the Harris County Sports & Convention Corporation, which is a non-profit that operates the NRG Park and the property where the festival took place.
Rapper Travis Scott, whose real name is Jacques Berman Webster II, is a named defendant in nearly all of the cases filed Monday. Aubrey Drake Graham (a.k.a Drake), who made a surprise stage appeared during Scott’s performance, is listed as a defendant in a half-dozen complaints.
Plaintiff attorneys scored an initial legal victory Monday afternoon when they asked a Houston judge for a temporary restraining order preserving the evidence at the scene of the festival in the parking lot outside Houston’s NRG Arena. Harris County District Judge Ravi Sandill granted the TRO through the end of Thursday, allowing lawyers for the victims to have their experts examine the concert site.
Two law firms – Norton Rose Fulbright and Fee Smith – made official appearances for some of the defendants. Scott was not represented by counsel at the court proceeding.
Benny Agosto, a partner at Houston’s Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner, filed a couple of the lawsuits Monday, including a complaint on behalf of Webb County residents Zoey and Bruce Ferguson and their two teenagers (ages 14 and 16) who claim they “sustained serious bodily injuries when they were knocked to the ground and trampled during the mayhem.”
Houston attorneys Derek Potts and Rebekah Matthews filed a complaint on behalf of New Orleans residents Brandon Nguyen and Nhung Tran, who claim they were “shoved and pushed to the ground as thousands of people rushed towards the stage.”
“Plaintiffs were unable to move, had difficulty breathing,” Potts and Matthews state in the lawsuit. “Rows of fans near the stage chanted, ‘stop the show’ while Scott performed.”
The complaints say the plaintiffs were caught in the middle of a chaotic crowd that kept aggressively pushing forward toward the stage, causing some people to be unable to breathe due to the pressure being placed on their bodies.
Other Houston plaintiff’s lawyers and law firms filing lawsuits Monday included:
Curtis Fitzgerald of the Thomas Henry Law Firm;
Robert Morse and Kiernan McAlpine of the Daspit Law Firm;
Vuk Vujasinovic and Jose Calderon with a law firm called VB Attorneys;
Sean Roberts and Clive Markland of Roberts Markland LLP;
Robert Hilliard and John Martinez of Hilliard Martinez Gonzales;
Steve Kherkher and Jesus Garcia of Kherkher Garcia; and
Kurt Arnold and Jason Itkin of Arnold & Itkin.