Wednesday, September 5, 2007
There's a possible aggregate settlement in the works regarding the 2003 nightclub fire in West Warwick, Rhode Island. Here's an excerpt from today's AP story on nytimes.com:
Several defendants being sued by relatives of the 100 people killed in a 2003 nightclub fire have tentatively agreed to a $13.5 million settlement, a lawyer for one family in the case told The Associated Press on Wednesday.
The settlements, if approved by a judge, would be the first in what the plaintiffs hope will be several agreements with dozens of defendants in the lawsuits stemming from the Feb. 20, 2003, fire at the Station nightclub in West Warwick. The fire also injured 200 people.
The fire resulted from the pyrotechnic display for the band Great White, which ignited flammable foam that the club had installed on the walls for sound-absorbtion. The defendants involved in the settlement reportedly include Triton Realty (which leased the building to the club's owners), Celotex (soundproofing board manufacturer, and no stranger to mass litigation from its asbestos days), Luna Tech and High Tech Special Effects (maker and seller of pyrotechnics), and an alarm company. Numerous additional defendants are not included in this settlement.
According to the news report, the settlement depends upon the appointment of a special master to oversee the distribution. The lawyers have recommended Francis McGovern, a Duke Law School professor who has served as special master in numerous mass tort cases.