Chicago Concert Goer Allowed to Pursue Promoter for ‘Crowd Surge’ Injuries

Jay ZMusic concerts can be exciting events for the performers and especially for their fans, who flock by the tens of thousands to see their favorite artists perform. This excitement can turn into something much worse when a concert promoter fails to do a proper job of ensuring the safety of concert attendees. A woman who was injured at a Kanye West and Jay-Z concert in Chicago recently won a victory in the First District Appellate Court, with the appeals court giving the woman a renewed opportunity to pursue her damages claim, deciding that the issue of the foreseeability of the woman’s injuries was still in dispute.

The injured woman, Sharon Jones, was at the United Center on Nov. 20, 2013 to catch the “Watch the Throne” tour, featuring hip-hop stars Kanye West and Jay-Z. During these shows, performers sometimes encourage fans to “come on down” toward the stage from their assigned seats. Near the end of the concert, one of the performers implored the crowd, saying “I want everybody to come downstairs to the main floor. We’re going to turn this into an … party. We’re all going to get in trouble for this. Come on down.” This created a crowd surge, and, in that surge, a man collided with Jones and knocked her down a flight of stone steps.

Jones sued the concert promoter, Live Nation Entertainment, Inc., for her injuries, alleging that Live Nation knew or should have known that the sort of crowd surge that occurred at the end of the concert would create a hazardous situation but that the promoter failed to take the proper steps to address such a hazard.

Initially, she lost after a trial judge ruled in favor of the promoter. The promoter, the trial court concluded, had no control over the concert performers or their performances, so the promoter could not be considered to have a legal duty to safeguard the wellbeing of attendees like Jones from a crowd surge caused by the statements of a performer.

The appeals court, however, revived the woman’s case. The presence or absence of a duty of care by the promoter toward the attendee was the key, and the trial court’s conclusion that Live Nation had no duty as a matter of law was erroneous. The fact that Live Nation‘s contract with the United Center, which had been a central piece of evidence at the lower court, required the promoter to provide security only for the show’s performers was irrelevant in proving that Live Nation had no duty toward Jones. Jones “was invited by Live Nation to a Live Nation-promoted event, which featured two artists that Live Nation placed in performance, [and] had a relationship with defendant Live Nation.”

The woman’s case received its new life in spite of the promoter’s argument that it could not be liable for the “come on down” instruction of a performer over whom Live Nation had no control. The fact that Live Nation could not control what Kanye or Jay-Z said on stage was not the issue; the issue was whether it was foreseeable to the promoter that the performance would generate a crowd surge among attendees and cause the sort of injuries Jones suffered.

When you are harmed due to the improper action or inaction of another party, you can expect a vigorous defense from the other side in your injury lawsuit. The other side will use all of the tools at its disposal to try to persuade the court to find it not liable. When pursuing the compensation you deserve, you need experienced and determined injury attorneys working on your side. The diligent Chicago injury attorneys at Katz, Friedman, Eagle, Eisenstein, Johnson & Bareck can help you throughout the process as you pursue your case for recovery of the damages you suffered. To set up a free case evaluation, contact us at 800-444-1525 or through our website.

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