On Friday, November 5, 2021, around 9:30 p.m., ten people lost their lives and hundreds were hurt after crowds rushed toward the stage during Travis Scott’s concert at his Astroworld music festival in Houston at NRG Park. The youngest person killed was a 9-year-old boy. Approximately 50,000 people were at the show. Scott addressed the tragedy the next day: “I’m absolutely devastated by what took place last night. My prayers go out to the families and all those impacted by what happened at Astroworld Festival,” he tweeted. “Houston PD has my total support as they continue to look into the tragic loss of life.” The show’s organizers mirrored Scott’s tweet, writing on Twitter, “Our hearts are with the Astroworld Festival family tonight — especially those we lost and their loved ones.” Live Nation, in a statement on “legal matters,” said, “We continue to support and assist local authorities in their ongoing investigation so that both the fans who attended and their families can get the answers they want and deserve.”
Houston officials vowed to look into the “mass casualty” incident with Police Chief Troy Finner revealing on November 6, “It’s now a criminal investigation that’s going to involve our homicide division as well as narcotics.” The Houston Police announced on January 14 that it “partnered with the Federal Bureau of Investigation for additional technical assistance.” The FBI launched a website where people can submit recordings and photos “that may assist the investigation into the injuries and deaths of individuals.”
Following the Astroworld tragedy, Texas governor Greg Abbott formed the Texas Task Force on Concert Safety to study risks at performance venues and create a report. The task force noted that there was an apparent inconsistency as to which agency was responsible for logistics, making it hard for any authority to take charge when things went awry. “Highlighted in the discussion of the Astroworld event was the fact that the County had jurisdiction over the permitting requirements, but City 911 was responsible for responding to event incidents,” the report notes. “Additionally, there was no Occupancy Load issued for the event, which is typically determined by the Fire Department. A consistent permitting process could have helped established jurisdiction and authority over ultimate event shutdown in the face of a life-threatening incident.”
Many attendees and their loved ones have taken steps to find the truth on their own. Those injured at Astroworld and the families of those who died started to file lawsuits against Scott and festival producers shortly after the tragedy. These lawsuits have since been consolidated into one civil action. As of May 9, there have been a total of 4,932 legal claims against Astroworld. Eleven of these claims are for deaths in relation to the stampede, 732 are for “physical injury with extensive medical treatment,” 1,649 are for “physical injury with less extensive medical treatment,” and 2,540 are listed as “other.” Here are some of the major legal claims coming out of Astroworld that are part of the massive case as well as some general updates.
Shanazia Williamson and Jarawd Owens
The couple allege in a December legal claim that their unborn child died as a result of the Astroworld stampede. “While in attendance at the festival, Shanazia was trampled and crushed resulting in horrific injuries and ultimately the death of her and Jarawd’s unborn child,” their lawsuit reads. “In addition, Shanazia sustained injuries to her shoulder, back, chest, leg, stomach, and other parts of her body.” The suit states that Scott and the other organizers’ “failure to plan, design, manage, operate, staff, and supervise the event was a direct and proximate cause of Shanazia’s injuries and death of her and Jarawd’s unborn child.”
“As a direct and proximate result of Defendants’ conduct by way of act and/or omission, Plaintiff Shanazia sustained severe physical pain, suffering, mental anguish, emotional distress, discomfort, personal injury,” and the death of their unborn baby, the suit says. “Defendants had actual, subjective awareness of the risks involved in the above-described acts or omissions, but nevertheless proceeded with conscious indifference to the rights, safety, or welfare of Plaintiffs and others.” Their legal claim contends that, as a result, they “are entitled to and seek exemplary damages” and are seeking “monetary relief significantly in excess of $1,000,000.”
Travis Scott and Drake have been named in a $750 million lawsuit in connection to the Astroworld tragedy. Attorney Tony Buzbee filed the complaint in Houston Civil Court on behalf of 125 Astroworld Festival victims, including the family of Axel Acosta, a 21-year-old who was killed at the concert. In the lawsuit, Buzbee alleges that Acosta died from cardiac arrest, the result of being stomped on by the crowd. “When Axel collapsed, he was trampled by those fighting to prevent themselves from being crushed,” it reads. “As he lay there under a mass of humanity, dying, the music played and streamed on — for almost forty minutes.”
“Axel Acosta loved and adored Travis Scott and the other performers at Astroworld — the feeling was not mutual,” the lawsuit continues. “Certainly, neither Travis Scott nor his exclusive partners, streaming service, record labels, handlers, entourage, managers, agents, hangers on, promoters, organizers, or sponsors cared enough about Axel Acosta and the other concertgoers to make an even minimal effort to keep them safe.”
Drake, who was a surprise guest performer appearing alongside Scott, has been named in the lawsuit. He allegedly “greatly benefitted from [Scott’s] ‘sicko’ legacy.” “When [Drake] accepted [Scott’s] invitation to perform at Astroworld 2021, [Drake] was well aware of the damage [Scott] had caused at his shows in the past,” Buzbee writes in the lawsuit. “[Drake] was also well aware of the anticipated size and volatility of the crowd, and the likelihood of incitement.” Live Nation, Apple Music, Epic Records, Scott’s Cactus Jack Records, and Tristar Sports & Entertainment Group, have all been identified as defendants in the lawsuit.
Buzbee’s team made a statement to People, claiming his firm “believes, based on its ongoing investigation, that Apple Music, Epic Records and many other corporations that stood to profit from Astroworld will share legal blame in a court of law, in front of a Texas jury.” Buzbee’s firm also plans to file another lawsuit “with another 100 named plaintiffs.”
Souza, who’s repped by the firm Kherkher Garcia, LLP, is filing a claim alleging that the events were “predictable and preventable.”
“Tragically, due to Defendants’ motivation for profit at the expense of concertgoers’ health and safety, and due to their encouragement of violence, at least 8 people lost their lives and scores of others were injured at what was supposed to be a night of fun,” Souza’s petition alleges. Souza says that he endured “serious bodily injuries when the uncontrolled crowd at the concert knocked him to the ground and trampled him.”
Ryan S. MacLeod, partner at Kherkher Garcia, LLP, stated in an email to Vulture, “As proud residents of Houston, we are sickened by the devastating tragedy that took place on Friday night. Travis Scott has a history of inciting violence and creating dangerous conditions for concertgoers. In fact, he tweeted that he would let the wild ones in after the show sold out. He and those who promoted and supported this concert must take responsibility for their heinous actions. We intend to hold them fully accountable by showing that this behavior will not be tolerated in our great city.”
The concertgoer is filing a suit against Scott, Drake (who took the stage during Scott’s performance), and Live Nation. When Scott’s performance started a little after 9 p.m., Paredes “felt an immediate push.” Paredes, who is repped by the law offices of Thomas J. Henry, says in the suit, “The crowd became chaotic and a stampede began leaving eight dead and dozens including Kristian Paredes severely injured. Many begged security guards hired by LIVE NATION ENTERTAINMENT for help, but were ignored.”
“Defendants were negligent for inciting a riot and violence,” Paredes’s petition claims. “The occurrence here in was due to the negligence, carelessness and recklessness of the defendants, their agents, servants and employees, in the ownership, management, maintenance, operation, supervision, and the control of the subject premises … as a direct and proximate result of the incident and the negligent conduct of the Defendants, Plaintiff suffered severe bodily injuries. The injuries have had a serious effect on the Plaintiff’s health and well-being. Some of the effects are permanent and will abide with the Plaintiff for a long time into the future, if not for his entire life.”
Twenty-one-year-old attendee Noah Gutierrez is filing suit over the incident. His counsel, civil-rights attorney Ben Crump, says that Gutierrez encountered “chaos and desperation” while Gutierrez and other concertgoers struggled to get people off of the ground.
Gutierrez, an El Paso resident, says in his suit that he was in the VIP section “when he was suddenly forced to watch in terror as several concertgoers were injured and killed as a result of a crowd surge.” As the crowd surge neared the stage, several attendees were “kicked, stepped on, trampled, and tragically crushed to death as a result of compressive asphyxia, which is caused when people are pushed against one another so tightly that their airways become constricted.” The suit contends that several people were “shouting for help with CPR and pleading with Defendants to stop the concert,” but that “despite the chaos which Defendants were aware of or should have been aware of,” they failed to stop the show until more than 40 minutes after a “mass casualty” incident was declared.
In a lawsuit filed Monday, Okezie alleges that “as a result of inadequate security and a security plan to protect attendees at the festival, conditions were created and consented to by the festival organizers that caused several stampedes and a crowd compression that resulted in the tragic deaths of eight individuals and the serious injuries of hundreds more.” Okezie claims to have been “seriously and permanently injured by the recklessness and conscious indifference of the Defendants.”
The Houston resident’s allegations echo those of Okezie. Broussard claims that concert promoters and Scott “failed to provide the proper safety planning, security, and medical personnel, proximately causing Plaintiff’s injuries.” Broussard says that the promoters and Scott’s actions “constitute negligence” and that they “failed to exercise reasonable care” in terms of warning attendees about safety hazards, providing “competent personnel,” designing an “adequate safety plan,” and having enough security personnel.
Like most other attendees who have filed suit, Garcia is seeking at least $1 million in damages. Garcia says that “the acts and omission of the Defendants as described above constitute negligence,” referring to the conditions that led to the crowd compression. Scott and organizers’ “breaches of duty proximately caused injury and damages” to Garcia, court papers filed Monday state. Garcia expects to show that Scott and promoters’ conduct “involved an extreme degree of risk considering the probability and magnitude of the potential harm to others.”
The Houston resident, who like several others suing over the Astroworld tragedy is repped by Sean A. Roberts, has made similar claims as other plaintiffs. Celedon’s suit maintains that “defendants had actual subjective awareness of the risks involved, but nevertheless [proceeded] with conscious indifference to the rights, safety, or welfare of others, including the Plaintiff.”
Chavez, who’s also represented by Roberts, has claimed that because of Scott and promoters’ “negligence, Plaintiff has suffered physical injuries and economic damages, both in the past and, in probability, in the future for which he/she seeks financial remuneration.”
Abulawi, like others, claims to be “seriously and permanently injured by the recklessness and indifference” of Scott and promoters. Since Scott and promoters were responsible for the festival, Abulawi’s suit maintains, they were responsible for providing adequate security, planning, and medical resources.
The concertgoer maintains that “as a result of inadequate security and a security plan to protect attendees at the festival, conditions were created and consented to by the festival that caused several stampedes and a crowd compression that resulted in the tragic deaths of eight individuals and the serious injuries of hundreds more.” Polier claims to have been “seriously and permanently injured” during the chaos.
The suit by Deberardino says he will show that Scott and promoters’ behavior, “when viewed objectively from the standpoint of Defendants at the time of its occurrence, involved an extreme degree of risk considering the probability and magnitude of the potential harm to others.” Deberardino’s suit also claims that Scott and promoters “had actually subjective awareness of the risks involved, but nevertheless [proceeded] with conscious indifference to the rights, safety, or welfare of others,” including him.
When Scott’s set started, Mohamud was in the middle of the crowd and “without warning, she became trapped in the middle of a crowd surge.” Mohamud, who’s represented by Hilliard Martinez Gonzales, LLP, as well as by Crump’s firm, alleges that “as the crowd continued to surge forward towards the stage … [she] and thousands of other concertgoers were pushed, shoved, elbowed, kicked along with being suffocated.” As Mohamud “attempted to stay conscious and escape the crowd,” she “was forced to witness several concertgoers who [were] being crushed, trampled, and killed within very close proximity to where [she] was trapped within the crowd.” Mohamud says that she “experienced severe physical pain and unimaginable terror and emotional trauma.”
During the concert, Guzman states in his lawsuit, “there was a surge of uncontrolled people pushing through the crowd. The pushing soon became chaos as people were stampeded and trampled on.” Guzman says he was “pushed to the ground and trampled which has resulted in a significant back injury.” The suit alleges security did not maintain order: “There are numerous videos showing people dancing on top of [vehicles] … videos of unconscious bodies being crowd surfed to medical attention, and numerous comments about the medical staff being under trained and not provided with sufficient equipment,” the suit states. “All the while, the show went on with Travis Scott continuing to perform—even after stopping the show because he saw people that needed help.”
Brandon Kemp, Reilly Corcoran, and Alex Sander
In their suit, Kemp, Corcoran, and Sander say that “for an extended period of time prior to the [incident], attendees became increasingly compressed towards the stage as other attendees began pushing towards the front of the stage.”
While this surge was happening, they say, promoters and security “failed to take appropriate action to secure the area and restrain the crowd.” They were aware of the risky circumstances, but “nevertheless proceeded in conscious indifference to the rights, safety, and welfare of the Plaintiffs and other members of the public,” the suit alleges.
In his lawsuit, Stennis alleges that he endured “severe injuries” at the concert. The deaths and injuries at Astroworld “has already been classified as one of the deadliest crowd-control disasters at a concert in the United States in decades.” Stennis alleges that he was “trampled, crushed, and lost consciousness during the incident.”
“He sustained injuries to his shoulder, head, and other parts of his body,” the suit states. “Defendants’ failures to properly plan, design, manage, operate, staff, and supervise the event was a direct and proximate cause of Plaintiff’s and others injuries and deaths.”
Delgado’s lawsuit charges that “as a result of inadequate security and a security plan to protect attendees at the festival, conditions were created and consented to by the festival organizers that caused several stampedes and a crowd compression that resulted in the tragic deaths of eight individuals and the serious injuries of hundreds more.”
Her suit maintains that she was “seriously and permanently injured by the recklessness and conscious indifference of the Defendants.”
Maria D. Peña (mother of victim Rudy Peña)
Rudy Peña, 23, was killed at Astroworld Friday; his mother has filed a lawsuit against several promoters and Scott for his death. “The Defendants are liable for the injuries and death of Rudy Peña,” her suit alleges. “They knew or should have known that the [conditions] were unsafe and presented an unreasonable risk of harm to the concertgoers. Despite the hazards, they let the show go on.”
“They had a duty to exercise reasonable care to ensure the safety of those attending the concert,” the suit, filed by attorney Steve T. Hastings, states. “They breached their duties which resulted in the ultimately death of Rudy Peña.”
An entry with the Harris County Clerk’s office indicates that Villanueva has taken legal action, but a copy of his petition was not immediately available.
Court filings show that Ferguson has filed suit, but not available to view yet.
The family of 14-year-old John Hilgert, one of the youngest deaths in the Astroworld, has filed a lawsuit against Travis Scott, Live Nation Worldwide, and other entities involved in the concert, according to People. Attorney Richard Mithoff filed the lawsuit on behalf of Hilgert’s parents Chris and Nichole Hilgert. “Defendants egregiously failed in their duty to protect the health, safety, and lives of those in attendance at the concert, including but not limited to the failure to provide adequate security personnel to implement crowd control measures, proper barricades, and the failure to provide a sufficient amount of emergency medical support,” the lawsuit claims.
This post has been updated.