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Blink 182 avoid liability for security guard injury at 2016 show

By | Published on Wednesday 18 August 2021

Blink 182

A lawsuit against Blink 182 and Live Nation in relation to an injury sustained by a part-time security guard at a 2016 concert in Ohio has been dismissed, on the basis the band had no role in causing the injury, and Live Nation is immune because it paid into a fund that has already compensated the plaintiff.

Kevin Darago was working at the Blossom Music Centre in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio when Blink 182 played there five years ago. He was injured when a fan crowdsurfing in the mosh pit kicked him in the left eye, causing vision loss.

He then sued Blink 182, their promoter Live Nation and their management firm, then known as the James Grant Group, for negligence, on the basis they together failed to ensure his safety while working at the show. In particular, Darago pointed out that the venue’s own policy that bans crowdsurfing had not been enforced.

The James Grant Group – now known as YM&U – was removed as a defendant on the case in 2019, on the basis that – while it had been involved in the booking of the show – it had no control at all over the concert itself. But the case against the band and Live Nation continued.

However, the judge has now ruled that Blink 182 themselves cannot be held responsible for Darago’s injuries either. Judge Sara Lioi noted that the band had no power over who was admitted to the venue and that their contract with said venue specifically prohibited crowd-surfing.

Also, one of the band telling the audience to “get this thing started” cannot, as Darago had speculated, be inferred as Blink 182 officially encouraging people to crowdsurf.

Darago also alleged that one of the people providing security for the band on the tour had told him to allow crowdsurfing at the show. However, the judge said, that security person had denied ever providing such instructions, and, anyway, there was nothing to suggest he was acting as an agent of the band.

For its part, Live Nation sought to have the lawsuit dismissed on the basis that, as Darago’s employer, it had paid into a worker compensation fund from which the plaintiff has already received $110,000. Under Ohio law, it added, that meant it had immunity from lawsuits of this kind.

Darago argued the he wasn’t actually employed by Live Nation because he received his wages via a payroll company – however the judge ruled that, for the purposes of the relevant Ohio laws, Live Nation was, in fact, his employer.

With all that in mind, the case was dismissed.