Attorneys for 226 victims of the Station club fire in West Warwick, R.I., and their families filed a 70-count lawsuit July 22 in Providence Superior Court. The Feb. 20, 2003, fire killed 100 people an
Attorneys for 226 victims of the Station club fire in West Warwick, R.I., and their families filed a 70-count lawsuit July 22 in Providence Superior Court.
The Feb. 20, 2003, fire killed 100 people and injured some 200 more during a performance by the band Great White.
The lawsuit names 46 defendants, including Great White, singer Jack Russell, former band manager Paul Woolnough, Knight Records, tour manager Dan Biechele, Station owners Michael and Jeffrey Derderian, pyrotechnic firm Luna Tech, foam manufacturers, speaker manufacturer JBL, Providence radio station WJHY, its owner Clear Channel Broadcasting, Anheuser-Busch, Lloyd's of London, bus company Four Seasons and state and local officials.
Most of the charges are for negligence, as in the case of Anheuser-Busch, Clear Channel, the radio station and others. The suit says those defendants "knew or should have known" that Great White "customarily utilized pyrotechnics" in its show and "had repeatedly, openly and illegally used" them in performances prior to the Station show.
Steve Minicucci, one of the lead attorneys for the Plaintiff Steering Committee, tells ELW the suit was filed in state court with the "expectation that it would progress from state to federal court immediately."
The suit seeks unnamed compensatory damages for items ranging from funeral expenses to lost earnings for those injured and families of those killed.
"We expect (the suit) to progress in due course, but it will probably be a long process," says Minicucci.
Three criminal indictments were issued in December 2003, following a nearly 10-month investigation into the fire by a Rhode Island grand jury. Biechele and the Derderians were each charged with 100 felony counts of involuntary manslaughter with criminal negligence and 100 misdemeanor counts of involuntary manslaughter.
Each count of manslaughter carries a maximum penalty of 30 years. All three pleaded innocent.
Jeffrey Pine, lawyer for the Derderians, and Ed McPherson, attorney for Great White, could not be immediately reached for comment.