Trampled Ultra Security Guard Files $10 Million Lawsuit Against Fest, City of Miami
Organizers of Ultra Music Festival have issued a statement following news that Erica Mack, a private security guard who was badly injured during this year's event, is preparing to sue the festival…
Erica Mack, the security staffer trampled by gatecrashers earlier this year at the Ultra Music Festival in Miami, filed suit today in Miami-Dade County against Ultra and its parent company Event Entertainment Group, as well as the City of Miami, the management organization in charge of the park where the event was held, the security and concessions companies for the festival (Best Beverage Catering and Contemporary Services, respectively) and the fencing company, Carlson Fence. Mack is seeking in excess of $10 million as well as legal fees.
Mack’s injuries included two skull fractures, bleeding in her brain and from her ear, and a leg broken in three places.
Mack’s complaint hinges on an agreement between the City and Ultra that provided for weak spots in fencing around the event area to use “G8” fencing, a sturdier alternative to the typical chain-link fencing. The complaint alleges that gatecrashing was common during the event’s previous years in the park, and that the area where Mack was placed was identified as being “particularly vulnerable to gatecrashers.” The complaint asserts that police officers had, the day of the event, identified the area as being vulnerable to gatecrashing, but that the concession company had requested G8 fencing not be placed in that specific area so that its equipment could be moved in and out more easily.
Mack’s suit alleges negligence and gross negligence against all defendants, as well as breach of contract against Event Entertainment and the park trust. According to documents included in the complaint, Event Entertainment held $1 million in worker’s compensation for accidental bodily injury during the event.
Two days after the incident, Miami’s mayor and several other senior officials called for the festival to move to another city. Mayor Tomas Regalado accused organizers of ignoring police directives to reinforce fences, citing prior problems.
“All they had to do was follow through with what they promised. One of the things they were obligated to submit was a security plan which showed G8 fencing around the perimeter,” Mack’s attorney, Eric Isicoff of Isicoff, Ragatz & Koenigsberg, tells Billboard. “This was easily preventable, without a huge expenditure. They could’ve gotten this thing to where it was safe, and they didn’t.”
In a statement released on Friday, Ultra responded to the then-forthcoming allegations:
The safety of our event, fans, crew and personnel has always been our number one concern. Despite our best efforts to continue to provide a safe and enjoyable event for our patrons and staff, certain criminal acts will always be beyond our control even though we continue to assure that security is of prime importance. Indeed, we never condone any criminal activities, especially those of a few unlawful gatecrashers whose actions are both illegal and reprehensible.
To further serve our events professional environment, earlier this year event organizers hired Ray Martinez, who recently retired as the Chief of the Miami Beach Police Department, to head their security measures. We know Chief Martinez will continue to assure we provide the highest of quality in our approach to the event’s experience. In fact, event organizers and Chief Martinez are presently working with officials from Bayfront Park, the City of Miami Police Department and others to assure that the 2015 event remains at the forefront of successful festivals for all patrons.
When reached this afternoon, Ultra provided no further comment on the allegations.