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Lawsuits targeting Live Nation, Travis Scott start flowing after Houston tragedy

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Lawsuits in response to the tragic disaster at rapper Travis Scott’s Astroworld Festival in Houston Friday night are rolling in, with at least 14 filed as of late morning Monday.

The sold out, two-day music festival turned deadly shortly after Scott took the stage last Friday around 21:00 local time, when the crowd surged toward the stage at NRG Park. Authorities said eight people were killed and 25 hospitalized, along with roughly 300 injured and treated on site.

The investigation into exactly what happened is ongoing, but Houston Police Chief Troy Finner said Saturday that at least one person, a security guard who was in the crowd, was pricked with a needle and was treated with the drug Narcan, which is used to treat opioid overdoses.

While Finner said that many of the injured were trampled, he added that an unspecified number of other people were also treated with Narcan. Representatives of the organizers also claimed that at least some of the injured were stuck with needles carrying an unknown drug.

By Monday, 14 lawsuits were filed in Harris County District Court by patrons who were at the event, most claiming severe injuries. The suits detail the chaotic stampede that left the victims unable to stand or move on their own in the crowd.

Several targeted only Scott, whose real name is Jacques Berman Webster II, and the main producer, Live Nation Entertainment.

At least one of the suits, such as one brought by Houston resident Manuel Souza, claims that the kind of behavior that led to the tragic crush “has long been encouraged by the festival’s founder and main performer, defendant Jacques Webster, a/k/a/ Travis Scott”.

Others in the pack named Scott’s record company, Cactus Jack Records; fellow rapper Drake, who appeared on stage with Scott before the concert was shut down; Houston-based production company Scoremore LLC; producer Sascha Stone Guttfreund; ASM Global, which manages the stadium; and Harris County Sports and Convention Corp., which owns the venue.

Contemporary Services Corp., a Northridge, California-based firm whose website bills it as “the leader in crowd management”, was also named in some of the suits. Authorities said that in addition to 528 Houston police officers at the event, Live Nation had 755 private security personnel on hand at the festival.

In 2017, this publication reported AIG, XL, and Chubb as among Live Nation's panel of insurers. It wasn't immediately clear the extent to which the entertainment giant's program had changed.

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