Drake dismissed from lawsuit over concert deaths

By John Mercury April 12, 2024

Rapper Drake has been dismissed from a lawsuit brought over the Astroworld festival tragedy, in which 10 concertgoers died.

The families of those killed in a crush at the gig, along with hundreds who were injured, sued Drake, fellow rap star Travis Scott and promotor Live Nation as well as other individuals and companies, alleging they were responsible for the crowd surge.

Drake made a guest appearance during Scott‘s headlining set at the festival in Houston, Texas, on 5 November 2021.

As the crowd surged, revellers were packed so tightly that many could not breathe or move their arms or legs.

Those killed, who ranged in age from nine to 27, died from compression asphyxia, which an expert likened to being crushed by a car.

Travis Scott on stage at the Astroworld music festival. Pic: AP
Image:
Travis Scott on stage at the Astroworld festival. Pic: AP

During a court hearing in Houston on Wednesday, state District Judge Kristen Hawkins dismissed Drake, whose full name is Aubrey Drake Graham, from the case.

Lawyers for the Canadian rapper argued during an earlier hearing he was not involved in putting the concert together so was not liable for the deaths and injuries.

During a deposition he gave in November in Toronto, he said in the moments before he took to the stage, no one told him that people in the crowd were suffering cardiac arrests or other injuries.

Drake said when he was on stage, the crowd looked like a blur and he could not make out any details.

Read more:
Travis Scott should have stopped Astroworld show – fire chief
Festival emergency plans did not include any detail on crowd surges

On Monday, Ms Hawkins dismissed seven companies and individuals who had been sued.

But she denied motions to dismiss filed by 10 other companies and individuals, including Apple, which produced a livestream of the concert, and two firms linked to Scott.

Matthew Shelton, Diego Rivera, Anthony Perez and Juan Carillo place flowers on a gate to NRG Park, after a deadly crush of fans during a performance the night before at the Astroworld Festival by rapper Travis Scott in Houston, Texas, U.S. November 6, 2021. REUTERS/Daniel Kramer
Image:
Mourners laid flowers at the concert site after the deadly crush in Houston. Pic: Reuters

Ms Hawkins was set to hear other motions to dismiss, including one related to Scott as an individual, on Monday.

Following an investigation by Houston Police, no charges were filed against Scott.

A grand jury in June declined to indict him and five other people on any criminal counts related to the deadly concert. Police Chief Troy Finner has not revealed the overall conclusion of their investigation.

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Last July, the police department made public its nearly 1,300-page investigative report in which festival workers highlighted problems and warned of possible deadly consequences.

The first trial from the lawsuits is scheduled for 6 May.

Some of the lawsuits have since been settled, including those filed by the families of four of the people killed during the gig.

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