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Civil rights lawyer Ben Crump requests co-liaison role in Astroworld litigation to address diversity concerns

By | Published on Monday 28 March 2022


Civil rights lawyer Ben Crump last week asked the judge overseeing the Astroworld litigation to appoint him as a “co-liaison counsel” in relation to all the ongoing cases, stating that – in that role – he could “help speak for the African American victims”.

Hundreds of lawsuits were filed following the tragedy that occurred at the Travis Scott founded Astroworld festival in Houston, Texas last November, where ten people died and many more were injured when a crowd surge occurred during Scott’s headline set.

387 lawsuits have now been consolidated to make it easier to manage the legal action, with judge Kristen Hawkins overseeing the proceedings.

A few weeks ago lawyers working on all those cases gathered for a court hearing to discuss how things will be managed moving forward. Among other things, that requires appointing certain lawyers to a liaison role, who will then liaise between all the other attorneys and the court.

At the hearing Crump noted that most of the victims killed or injured at Astroworld were black, but that the majority of the lawyers working on the cases were white. He told Hawkins that: “There seems to be not much representation in the court of those African American voices – we are concerned about them not having a voice”.

The judge confirmed that the lack of diversity among the lawyers representing Astroworld victims “has not gone unnoticed by the court [and] I would like that to be considered going forward”. However, she added, “I’m not going to choose someone’s counsel for them – and I do know we have excellent attorneys in this room and those attorneys come from all aspects of Harris County”.

According to Billboard, Crump reckons that one solution to the diversity problem is to appoint him to a co-liaison role. As a black main, his firm said in a court filing last week, Crump “provides both a strong voice and clear visibility to the community most affected. It cannot be seriously argued that there is anyone better situated or more respected in the eyes of the African American community than Mr Crump”.

“Simply put”, the legal filing continued, “Mr Crump is the ideal candidate to serve as plaintiffs’ co-liaison counsel as he is in the best position to get the proverbial ‘pulse’ of the Astroworld plaintiffs’ community, provide the court with necessary updates, and serve as the spokesperson for – and be the face of – the plaintiffs’ litigation team”.