Gotta say, this doesn’t look great.
Houston police investigating the 2021 Astroworld concert disaster determined that a contract between Travis Scott and Apple required him to finish his set in order to receive a $4.5 million payment, according to a report released last week.
The police report does not speculate whether the promise of a payout led Scott to prolong the concert, which continued for 37 minutes after officials declared it a mass casualty event.
While a grand jury declined charges against Scott last month, one expert said the contract could play a role in the swarm of lawsuits targeting the rapper, Apple and other companies.
“It could be very important,” said Steve Herman, a plaintiff’s attorney who is not involved in the case. “He’s never going to admit that that was his motivation, but if there’s other circumstantial evidence from which ultimately a jury can infer that that was a motivation in not stopping the concert, even though he knew people were getting crushed, that’s pretty powerful stuff.”
Herman, who sat on a plaintiffs’ steering committee in the BP oil spill litigation, said much will depend on the context. As early as October 2022, one law firm told detectives that more than 285,000 documents had been turned over during discovery.
Herman said lawyers will try to find out why the language was in the contract – and whether Scott knew about it.
“There’s a good chance he didn’t even read the contract,” Herman said. “It could be important evidence, but it could also be completely irrelevant. You would have to know a lot more about why that provision was in there.”
Despite denials from Scott and Apple, plaintiffs’ attorneys in the hundreds of pending Astroworld lawsuits could try to use the contract to show Scott disregarded the risk of continuing the show.
“In the end, maybe something like this could be very, very trivial and small. But the test for me is, when you bring this up at a cocktail party, how does the person respond?” said Peter Reilly, a law professor at Texas A&M University. “I think most people, their eyes would open and say, ‘Wow.’”
With a trial date set for May 2024, the litigation is at an early stage. Plaintiffs and defendants, who are under a gag order from the judge overseeing the case, have yet to reveal their arguments in written filings.
See here for the background. It’s a long story, so go read it and this Chron story as well. I absolutely believe this will be used by the plaintiffs’ attorneys in the multiple lawsuits against Scott, and I agree with Professor Reilly that it’s likely to have an effect. Read the stories and see what you think.