Lawyers representing 17 people injured when a railing collapsed at a Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa concert in New Jersey have filed a lawsuit against the venue’s owner and the performers claiming they didn’t take enough precautions to ensure concertgoers would be safe.
The lawsuit, filed Wednesday (Aug. 24) in a Philadelphia court, doesn’t specify what damages are being sought. But attorney Robert J. Mongeluzzi said his clients want to prevent future incidents and deserve monetary compensation. The plaintiffs include 14 concertgoers and three workers, including one who suffered a fractured spine, attorneys say.
A partition separating a lawn from a secondary stage set up at the rear of the seating section collapsed shortly after the show began Aug. 5 at Camden’s BB&T Pavilion, causing people to fall roughly 10 feet onto the concrete below.
Authorities have said 42 people were hurt in the collapse, which occurred as the rappers were gesturing to fans to move toward the small stage. Lawyers say concertgoers were trampled and pinned to the ground, causing some to have broken bones, torn ligaments and tendons, loss of consciousness and emotional trauma.
“I can tell you there is no doubt there was a crowd surge based upon the setup of the lawn with no chairs and no aisles, lack of security … and then the artists telling people to come forward,” Mongeluzzi said. “That’s the setup, and that’s the failure.”
Live Nation, which operates the venue, announced after the railing collapse that it had “secured” the fallen section of railing. It also said in a statement at the time that it was working with authorities and structural engineers to determine the cause of the collapse. It has since set up a safety zone to block a section of space in front of the railing.
Mongeluzzi said Live Nation’s actions were “really a post-accident admission that this is the way it should’ve been set up.”
Live Nation declined to comment, citing the pending litigation.
Wiz Khalifa, whose real name is Cameron Thomaz, and Snoop Dogg, whose real name is Cordozar Calvin Broadus Jr., were ushered from the stage moments after the railing collapse, and the show was canceled. Calls and emails to the artists’ representatives requesting comment were not immediately returned.
Lawyers say their first step will be requesting an inspection of the area and the railing to determine the cause of the collapse.
Philadelphia-based firm Saltz, Mongeluzzi, Barrett & Bendesky PC has represented clients in similar cases, including a bleacher railing collapse at Veterans Stadium in 1998.
Attorney Andrew Duffy said lawyers are “extremely confident” they met the legal requirement for having the case litigated in Philadelphia, despite the concert’s New Jersey venue. Live Nation operates venues nationally and does significant business in Philadelphia County, Duffy said.