As the number of lawsuits filed over this year’s ill-fated Astroworld festival continues to grow, attorneys on both sides have agreed to consolidate the 275 filings currently active – with over 1,250 plaintiffs split between them – into one expansive case.
The motion was filed in the Supreme Court of Texas on Friday (December 3), with attorneys petitioning for what’s been dubbed in legal documents as a “judicial panel on multi-district litigation (MDL)”. It comes as lawsuits were filed in all 24 of Harris County’s district courts, with more filings expected to be made in the coming months.
“This type of litigation is exactly what the Texas MDL process is designed to address,” the petition reads. “Transfer of all of these lawsuits to a single pretrial judge for consolidated and coordinated pretrial proceedings will eliminate duplicative discovery, conserve resources of the judiciary, avoid conflicting legal rulings and scheduling, and otherwise promote the just and efficient conduct of all actions.”
Among the 275 lawsuits currently active include a $2billion filing made against Travis Scott, Live Nation, Drake, Apple Music and NRG Stadium, which alone covers 282 plaintiffs. That lawsuit, filed by Texan attorney Thomas J. Henry, came just a day after another substantial suit was filed by Tony Buzbee, seeking $750million on behalf of 125 victims.
In this week’s filing to have all cases merged – which Billboard notes “is standard procedure in mass injury lawsuits, with the goal of avoiding the inefficiency of individually trying many cases that share key similarities” – the collaborating attorneys motioned for Texas state judge Lauren Reeder to oversee the MDL. The 1,124-page document does not explain why Reeder was chosen.
Live Nation said in a previous statement that it will “continue to support and assist local authorities in their ongoing investigation” and “address all legal matters at the appropriate time”. Live Nation and other promoter ScoreMore have also revealed plans to develop a health fund to cover the festival’s attendees’ medical fees and provide mental health counselling resources.
Earlier this week, Hulu pulled a documentary about the Astroworld tragedy just hours after release, following strong backlash from viewers and critics alike. A rep for Hulu said that while the 50-minute film, titled Astroworld: Concert From Hell, did initially stream on the platform, it was not directly made by Hulu.
Meanwhile, families of half the victims who died during Scott’s headline set at Astroworld have rejected the rapper’s offer to pay for funeral expenses. In the days following the tragic crowd surge on November 5, which left 10 people dead and hundreds more injured, Scott offered to cover the cost of all victims’ funerals. Lawyers for the victims’ families have called the offer “bullshit”, “demeaning” and “really inappropriate”.
The CEO of ParaDocs, the medical company hired by Astroworld, has also spoken out on the crowd surge tragedy, saying that his staff faced an “impossible feat” of treating 11 people with cardiac arrests at the same time. He also said that he’ll have “nightmares about for the rest of [his] life.”