THE Astroworld disaster is one of the worst crowd atrocities in US history and had a “haunting similarity” to a 2016 concert where nearly 50 people were injured after a railing collapsed, the lawyer who litigated that case has told The Sun.
Both concerts were run by promoter Live Nations and were “poorly planned,” attorney Andrew Duffy told The Sun in an exclusive interview.
In 2016, a crowd rushed the stage of a Snoop Dogg concert in Camden, New Jersey – just like they did during Saturday’s Travis Scott performance in Houston.
As many as 42 were injured when a partition collapsed during the surge, sending revelers tumbling from a raised section.
But no one died during the New Jersey concert; eight people died during Scott’s Astroworld gig.
“This was among one of the worst crowd-control disasters in US history,” said Duffy, who’s specialized in premise liability law for 26 years.
“To have eight dead is excruciating,” Duffy said.
ALEX ACOSTA’S BODY ‘WAS TRAMPLED LIKE TRASH’
Among the eight victims was 21-year-old Alex Acosta, whose family is being represented by Tony Buzbee.
“The sheer force of being stacked against the stage crushed him,” Buzbee said during a Monday afternoon press conference.
“The air was slowly squeezed out of him, and then people trampled over his body like a piece of trash,” Buzbee said. “He died on the muddy ground of a concert.”
Buzbee said he is representing 35 people injured during the stampede, and the number is growing.
“It was utter chaos that was encouraged by everyone involved,” Buzbee said.
DEFENSE WILL BLAME THE VICTIMS
As someone who fought against Live Nation in court, Duffy said their defense team will blame the victims.
“They’ll say the crowd was unruly. They’ll say the crowd got out of control,” he said.
It’s the most common defense in these types of cases, Duffy said.
“But it’s wrong. It’s dead wrong.”
WHAT WENT WRONG?
In short, Duffy said planning was the issue.
Before any concert, a detailed plan including emergency exits and courses of action during a mass casualty incident are laid out, Duffy said.
Based on what happened, Duffy said that he does not believe a proper emergency plan was implemented by concert organizers.
“They know the danger if the crowd rushes the stage, and there needs to be emergency escapes in place,” he said.
“As part of any discussion before a concert has to be about what happens if the crowd surges. How do we protect people from being crushed?”
To make things worse, people reportedly trampled over bodies – both those who died and those were injured – during a free-for-all escape.
As people were getting hurt or collapsing, some concert goers tried to stop the performance, but Scott continued to perform for 30 to 40 more minutes, Buzbee said.
“At that point, the plan should’ve been to shut down the concert,” Duffy said. “That’s usually what happens during a mass casualty incident.
“And what was the security detail doing? There were reportedly police outside. What were they doing? It seems there was no plan at all,” the longtime premise liability lawyer said.
HOW LONG WILL THE CIVIL CASES DRAG OUT?
At least 50 or more civil cases related to the concert have already been filed since Saturday.
Once a final tally is counted up, Duffy said the judge will likely consolidate the cases to speed up discovery, but it will still take about two to three years.
The lawsuits have to be filed, then there’s discovery, both sides will provide competing expert reports and then finally a resolution.
Most of these cases are settled before they go to trial, Duffy said.