Legal Drama Over Deadly Music Festival Crush Continues

Travis Scott | Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Rapper Travis Scott’s legal team filed a motion last week in the ongoing legal aftermath of the 2021 Astroworld Music Festival incident that resulted in the deaths of 10 individuals ranging in age from 9 to 27 years old.

Scott, whose real name is Jacques Bermon Webster II, headlined and helped organize the event. He has filed a motion for summary judgment in all claims against him, reported TicketNews.

Apple, Drake, and other defendants also recently filed the same motion. According to court documents, over 300 legal cases linked to the event are set to progress through the judicial system. Among the 2,500 plaintiffs involved, the majority are survivors of the concert, alongside event staff and the families of the deceased.

A motion for summary judgment means that there are no disputes as to the underlying facts of a case, and there is no need for a trial. Such a motion asks a judge to decide in favor of the party who filed it based on the applicable law.

Scott’s motion claims:

“[M]usic festivals must balance exhilaration with safety and security—but that balance is not the job of performing artists, even those involved in promoting and marketing performances. Performers are not expected to render special protection to the audience nor to safeguard them from the rest of the crowd.

“Which only makes sense: Performing artists, even those who engage in certain promotional activities, have no inherent expertise or specialized knowledge in concert safety measures, venue security protocols, or site-design. Consequently, Texas appellate precedent rejects imposing a general tort duty on performers or promoters to protect concertgoers from dangers, including those arising from others in the crowd.”

The motion alleges that the Plaintiffs’ claims “contravene the accepted bounds of tort liability and seek recompense from the wrong source.”

“No one disputes that tragedy struck the Astroworld Festival. But promoting and performing at a concert do not equate to the power to control a crowd or to design a venue safely. Basic tort principles prevent imposing liability on the Scott Defendants for a tragedy arising from forces legally controlled by others,” reads the motion.

The Astroworld Festival, held at NRG Park in 2021, was intended to evoke the nostalgic atmosphere of the Astroworld amusement park, which had sentimental value for Scott and many Houstonians until the tragedy unfolded.

The event turned deadly when a crush occurred within the tightly packed crowd, resulting in the deaths of 10 attendees and injuries to numerous others. The victims of the tragedy were Mirza Baig, 27; Rudy Peña, 23; Madison Dubiski, 23; Franco Patiño, 21; Jacob Jurinek, 20; John Hilgert, 14; Axel Acosta, 21; Brianna Rodriguez, 16; Bharti Shahani, 22; and Ezra Blount, 9.

Attorney Tony Buzbee announced a settlement for a case for the family of Axel Acosta in late 2022, which claimed over 20 defendants, including Scott and the promotional company Live Nation. Brianna Rodriguez’s family also settled their case for an undisclosed amount.

Scott’s motion comes after a Harris County grand jury declined to indict him and others on criminal charges related to the festival. Additionally, the Houston Police Department’s extensive investigation, detailed in a comprehensive report, did not result in criminal charges against Scott.

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