First Federal Lawsuit Filed In R.I. Club Fire
The first federal lawsuit stemming from the Feb. 20 fire at Rhode Island nightclub the Station was filed this morning (April 22) in U.S. District Court in Providence. The incident during a concert byThe first federal lawsuit stemming from the Feb. 20 fire at Rhode Island nightclub the Station was filed this morning (April 22) in U.S. District Court in Providence. The incident during a concert by Great White killed 99 people.
Attorney Ronald Resmini was to file the 100-page lawsuit on behalf of three clients, two who survived the fire and the family of another who died. Among those named in the suit are club owners the Derderian brothers, the band, its management company and label Knight Records, Clear Channel Communications, Anheuser-Busch, pyrotechnics company Luna Tech, American Foam, the town of West Warwick, the state of Rhode Island, and the real-estate company that owns the land.
Resmini says he filed at the federal level to determine jurisdiction in the case. "We want to see where it's going to end up, state or federal, particularly as it pertains to liability," he tells Billboard Bulletin. "Somebody's got to do it, and I got tired of waiting on everybody else and did it myself."
Great White's attorney, Ed McPherson, says he was not aware of Resmini's suit but adds, "I don't think it makes much difference in regard to liability or damage. And federal and state courts are pretty equal in how quickly they get to trial. [A federal filing] seems to circumvent the chief judge in the state court, who has made it clear she would like all of these lawsuits to be coordinated."
McPherson says he believes about a dozen civil suits have been filed at the state level. No criminal charges have brought in the case. "I believe the attorney general's office is being very careful," says McPherson. "I know the grand jury is still impanelled, and they're working very diligently in going over the evidence. Just because no charges have been filed doesn't mean they won't be."