More than a year into litigation over the deadly Astroworld music festival, attorneys for the event’s organizers say that nearly 1,000 fans who sued over their alleged injuries have ignored deadlines and failed to hand over “critical evidence.”
In a filing last week, attorneys for the defendants in the case — Live Nation, Travis Scott, Apple and many others involved in the festival — alerted Judge Kristen Brauchle Hawkins that 956 alleged victims had “not provided any response whatsoever” to basic requests for information.
“There is no excuse for the non-responsive plaintiffs’ complete disregard of their discovery obligations,” the lawyers for the organizers wrote in the Nov. 23 filing. “They should be compelled to comply immediately.”
Some lawyers for victims quickly pushed back, though. In responses on Monday (Nov. 28), attorneys repping dozens of purported non-responders said many of their clients had in fact filed the necessary papers — or had been dropped from the case entirely. Others said their clients had “experienced serious trauma” and that lawyers were “working diligently with them to complete their discovery response.”
The dueling filings came in sprawling litigation over Astroworld, in which a crowd crush during Scott’s Nov. 5, 2021 performance left 10 dead and hundreds physically injured. Thousands of alleged victims are seeking billions in total damages, claiming the organizers were legally negligent in how they planned and conducted the event.
As of May, court filings said that more than 4,900 alleged victims had filed claims in the case. But the latest filings this week suggest that number has now been winnowed down to around 2,500.
The two sides are currently in the midst of what is known as discovery, the legal process in which each side hands over evidence to their opponents. Earlier this year, Live Nation, Scott and other defendants had sought a variety of information about each plaintiff, including details about their particular injury, documentary evidence that they attended the festival and any messages or other digital records related to the festival.
In the filing last week, attorneys for the Astroworld organizers said a huge number of alleged victims had “wholly failed to respond,” despite the fact that the questions had been heavily negotiated with the legal team for the concertgoers.
“It has now been more than six months since defendants served their original discovery requests and more than a month since all extensions have expired,” the Astroworld lawyers wrote. “Yet approximately 38% of the Plaintiffs … have provided absolutely zero response.”
Failing to hand over this “critical evidence” soon could hamper the litigation in ways that cannot be undone, the organizers warned.
“The longer the non-responsive plaintiffs delay, the higher the risk that critical evidence or information in their possession will be lost, destroyed, or forgotten,” they wrote. “Cell phones get lost or destroyed, and the photographs and videos on them get deleted.”