The judge overseeing the Astroworld litigation has dismissed claims made against Sony Music's Epic Records. However, she has denied requests by Apple and two of Travis Scott's companies to be removed as defendants as the first lawsuits head to trial next month. 

Judge Kristen Hawkins issued a flurry of judgments earlier this week in response to motions for dismissal filed by various people and companies that were named as defendants in at least some of the lawsuits that followed Astroworld 2021. 

Ten people died and hundreds more were injured in a crowd surge that occurred during Scott's headline set at the Houston festival he founded. Hundreds of lawsuits were then filed. 

Scott and the festival's promoter, Live Nation, were key defendants in all that litigation, but - as is often the case in this kind of legal action - many of the lawsuits also named as defendants a wide range of other people and companies with some involvement in the event. 

Most of those other defendants have sought to have their names removed from the litigation before the first case gets to trial. In the main, they have argued that they had no involvement in designing the festival's site, or in planning or delivering event safety and security, and therefore cannot be held liable for any of the deaths or injuries that resulted from the crowd surge. 

Apple was named as a defendant because it was livestreaming Scott's show when the crowd surge occurred. Some of the lawyers representing the Astroworld victims argued that the placing of Apple's cameras impacted on crowd control at the festival. It insisted it had no involvement in event planning or crowd control, but Hawkins wasn't willing to dismiss the claims against Apple on that basis at this stage. 

Epic Records is Travis Scott's record label. Although it may have had some creative or marketing connections to the festival, as Scott's business partner on his recordings rather than live activity, it did seem ambitious to claim it could be held liable in any way for the crowd surge. So, perhaps unsurprisingly, Hawkins granted its motion for dismissal. 

A group of security companies that provided services to Astroworld also filed a motion for dismissal, including Contemporary Services Corp, Apex Security Group Inc, AJ Melino & Associates Inc and Valle Services LLC

Contemporary Services and Apex argued that they had provided staff for the festival's gates, but not the main stage where the crowd surge happened. Nevertheless, the judge declined to dismiss the case against any of the security companies, which is perhaps unsurprising. Crowd control across the entire event is likely to be considered when it comes to assessing possible causes for the crowd surge at the end of the day. 

Scott is also seeking to get himself removed as a defendant on the case, as is Drake, who guested during Scott's headline set. Both artists insist that they are not responsible for the management of the events where they perform. The judge is yet to rule on the rappers’ motions for dismissal, although she declined to remove two of Scott's companies - LaFlame and Cactus Jack - as defendants. 

Finally, Live Nation will remain as a key defendant when the cases go to trial, though some of the live giant's subsidiaries have sought to be removed. Hawkins declined to dismiss the case against Front Gate Ticketing, owned by Live Nation's Ticketmaster, but did grant a motion for dismissal for some of Scoremore's companies, it being the Houston-based Live Nation subsidiary that co-promoted the festival. 

The complete list of people and companies who were this week removed as defendants in the Astroworld litigation is as follows: Darryl Platt, Eighteentwentysix LLC, Epic Records, ParaDocs Worldwide Inc, Re:Source Event Group, Scoremore LLC and Scoremore MGMT LLC.  

The people and companies who remain as defendants are: AJ Melino & Associates Inc, Apex Security Group, Apple Inc, Cactus Jack Enterprises LLC, Contemporary Services Corp, Front Gate Ticketing Solutions LLC, LeFlame Enterprises Inc, Sascha Stone Guttfreund, Valle Services LLC and Valle Security Texas LLC.

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