TortsProf Blog

Editor: Christopher J. Robinette
Widener Commonwealth Law School

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Rock Concert Injuries

An entertaining Above The Law post about this ad at Q101 in Chicago, where Goldberg Weisman Cairo, a personal injury firm, seeks clients injured at rock concerts.

As a general matter, I find the header ("The pit is dangerous!") to be a pretty compelling argument for assumption of risk.  I've been in quite a number of pits and I was quite aware of the risks.  Indeed, the risks are generally the purpose, no?

Additionally, this caught my eye:

June 29, 1998 A 17-year-old girl attended a rock concert where promotional compact discs were being thrown into the audience as prizes. She suffered an extensive corneoscleral laceration with vitreous hemorrhage and retinal detachment when a compact disc struck her in the eye. An alternative, safer method must be used for distributing compact discs as prizes.

And why did it catch my eye?  Because of how closely it tracked part of my exam [PDF] in Torts last fall, which featured all sorts of bands from the '80s you don't want to hear again:

The Fixx performs at Second Street, at a show attended by (among others) Gregory Pajeski, who paid $10 for his ticket.  At the end of the performance, all of the members of the band (including Pyrnin, Prown, and guitarist drummer Adam Poods) throw several dozen free CDs into the crowd as promotions.  Pajeski just misses catching one of them.  At the end of the encore, all three members of the band again throw several dozen free CDs into the crowd.  This time, one hits Pajeski in the ear and slices it open, requiring many stitches and several thousand dollars worth of medical care.

Good times.


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Tracked on Jul 2, 2007 8:30:23 AM


"Caught my eye" (ba-dum-ching!)

Seriously, I'm surprised we don't see more concert-related lawsuits in the news. Mosh pits, stage-diving, throwing things into the crowd (the most common thing seems to be drumsticks), pyrotechnics, inadequate security, etc.

Posted by: QC Injury Lawyer | Jun 28, 2007 6:49:19 AM

BC, Well said, just like a defense lawyer. Trouble is, you're wrong about assumption of risk, unless you're talking only about you. Take the word of someone who has been involved as an expert witness in more concert safety lawsuits than anyone in the world. That was true even in 2007, when you wrote your opinion here. As for my pit experience, I'll put my 16 years against whatever time you've spent in the pit--in Chicago or worldwide.
QC, there are plenty of concert safety lawsuits. You may not hear about them because they don't go to court. They settled out of court. for more information.

Posted by: Paul Wertheimer | Aug 3, 2009 9:17:21 PM

Paul, I don't think I'm wrong from a legal perspective, or, for that matter, from a factual perspective (having been going to shows with pits since 1987 or thereabouts). You certainly have broader knowledge of crowd safety more generally and I wouldn't suggest that I know more about the area as a broad matter.

I don't disagree with your view that concerts could be made safer, or that they should be made safer. But I feel fairly comfortable with my understanding of tort law and the doctrines involved; assumption of risk is largely on its way out and that's probably a good thing. Certainly the knowledge in assumption of risk is subjectively measured, and not everyone has that subjective knowledge. But it's also not hard to identify those risks from even a cursory observation of what's going on prior to wading in. Should what's going on be permitted? Well, that's a different question. But when assumption of risk exists as a doctrine, it fits pretty well.

Posted by: Bill Childs | Aug 5, 2009 9:18:40 AM

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