Gwen Stefani may be wishing she didn't speak a few fateful phrases last July during a concert in Charlotte, North Carolina. Stefani, while performing at the PNC Pavilion, instructed the crowd seated in the lawn section behind the actual music pavilion to come into the reserved seating area and to "just fill in anywhere you like."
After issuing that instruction from the stage, the crowd rushed the stage, getting past security personnel, breaking through security barricades and other security devices. During the rush to the reserved seating area, plaintiff Lisa Sticklin, who was seated in the reserved seating area, was trampled. Fortunately, her injuries were not fatal, however, she did suffer a broken tibia, and no doubt, suffered needless pain and suffering.
No Doubt About Negligence
Stefani's instruction to the crowd to rush the stage is rather problematic for not just Stefani, but also the concert promoter and operator, Live Nation, which was also sued. While on stage, Stefani seemed to joke about the fact that she got in trouble for the instruction. The lawsuit actually quotes Stefani saying the following during the concert: "I got in so much trouble for telling you guys to come up here."
The lawsuit seeks to hold Stefani liable for negligence.To be found liable for negligence, an injured person must prove that another person had a duty or obligation to do, or not do something, that the person failed to uphold that duty, and as a result of that failure, an injury resulted. Here, Stefani and the promoter had a duty to not cause the crowd to rush the stage due to the obvious risk of injuries due to trampling.
Concert Venue, Operator, and Promoter Liability
Concert venues, as well as the operators and promoters, like Live Nation, can be held responsible for the negligent actions of performers, venue employees, the security staff and even other concert goers sometimes.
A subset of negligence actions, known as premises liability claims, hold the owners and controllers of a venue liable for injuries that result due to negligence.