Following a 2016 performance at the PNC Music Pavilion in Charlotte, North Carolina, which left one fan injured due to a stampede that occurred during the show, a lawsuit has officially been moved forward.
According to a new report from Billboard, it was revealed that Gwen Stefani, who was performing that night, may be held accountable for the concert stampede as she lost a summary judgement from the 2017 lawsuit.
In a decision against the musician, judge Robert Conrad, who works with the Western District of North Carolina, has officially ruled against the singer, claiming that she could possibly be held accountable for the plaintiff, Lisa Stricklin’s injury.
The judge explained his ruling in a 32-page statement regarding the case, which he went into extensive details on both Stefani and Live Nation for their part in the stampede.
According to Billboard, the judge has deemed Live Nation, the promoter who held the concert, was not responsible for the accident because they had made precautions to protect the safety of the concertgoers.
The only reason that this stampede happened, he notes, is because Stefani called fans to the stage, but she did so without giving the promoter and its staff a proper warning.
Conrad explains in his decision that it could see Stefani being liable because her speech wasn’t protected under the first amendment, where he wrote (per Billboard):
“Stefani’s statement was intended to prompt action; it was not intended to further the marketplace of ideas or to aid in the common quest for truth and the vitality of society as a whole.”
The judge also elaborated on his ruling, saying:
“A jury could find that Stefani could have anticipated the reaction that her statement would prompt: thousands of people, many of whom were consuming alcohol, to descend toward the stage immediately,” he wrote. “It is foreseeable that in this mass movement, someone could get hurt.”
The fan injured, Lisa Stricklin, explained in the report that the initial crowd of fans were climbing over seats to get closer to the stage, and then, she was eventually trampled in the crowd and pushed into a wall because so many people were coming up front.
Following the concert, Stricklin found out that she received a “lateral tibial plateau fracture” in her left leg due to the stampede she was thrown into at the show.
As of right now, these new findings could have Stricklin go into court with a case of negligence against the singer, but as the judge notes, she couldn’t get any sort of punitive damages.
According to the report, both parties will be going back to court next year to begin with a new trial, which is slated to begin on Feb. 19.
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