Man Shot at Rap Party Can’t Sue Clear Channel

     (CN) – Clear Channel is not liable for a shooting at rapper Beanie Siegel’s birthday party, which it was broadcasting live in Philadelphia, a federal judge ruled.
     Tyheem Baker, a New Jersey resident, said he had been hesitant to go to Solo Nightclub with friends on March 6, 2009, but changed his mind when he heard on the radio that the club would be hosting the birthday party of former Roc-A-Fella artist Beanie Sigel, whose real name is Dwight Grant.
     In the previous two years, Club Solo had been the site of several shootings and large fights, according to the ruling. Pennsylvania had even sued the club and one of its owners, Tam Tran, in 2008 to shut it down for a year and take its liquor license.
     Though a conditional licensing agreement issued by the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board forbade Club Solo from promoting its events, the club used DJ Boo Entertainment to advertise and broadcast Sigel’s party live on Clear Channel Communications’ radio station, WUSL Power 99.
     Close to 600 people came out for the event, whereas nearly 2,200 came to a party for Sigel in 2008.
     Baker said he entered the club around 11 p.m. after going through a metal detector and pat-down. Though other guests were also searched, Baker allegedly noticed that DJ Khaled and his entourage were not.
     At about 1:35 a.m., an unknown guest shot Baker in the chest while he was standing outside the restrooms. The club’s video surveillance was not working, the incident was not recorded.
     Baker brought a 2008 federal complaint for negligence against Sigel and others associated with the party. Seven of the eight remaining defendants moved for summary judgment, but U.S. District Judge Anita Brody cleared only half of that group last week.
     Clear Channel Communications, WUSL Power 99 and Club Solo’s landlords, Spring Del Associates and SDAGP Inc., “had no control” over Club Solo or the security provided inside the club, according to the 20-page ruling.
     Baker may be able to prove, however, that Club Solo and owner Lloyd Tran breached their duty to protect patrons.
     “The fact that someone fired gun shots on Club Solo’s premises only a week before Baker was shot inside the club is alone sufficient to establish that Solo Nightclub defendants had constructive notice that patrons might be violently injured on the premises by third persons,” Brody wrote. “This incident, however, was not the sole incident that provided Solo Nightclub defendants with constructive notice. Two fights occurred, and a person threatened violence, on the premises. Additionally, there were four gun-related incidents within a block of the premises. Solo Nightclub defendants do not deny that they had notice of these incidents. Moreover, Solo Nightclub defendants were in the middle of being sued by the Commonwealth as a result of the numerous disorderly and violent events that had occurred on and around the premises and required police intervention. If they had not been put on notice before this lawsuit, the filing of the suit certainly put Solo Nightclub defendants on notice to have reasonably anticipated criminal conduct on the part of third parties. Club Solo’s use of metal detector wands also indicates that it was foreseeable to Solo Nightclub defendants that someone might bring a weapon such as a knife or gun into the club. Finally, the character of the business conducted by Solo Nightclub defendants, a large nightclub with a liquor license, which on occasion had accommodated 2,200 people, also leads to the conclusion that Solo Nightclub defendants should have reasonably anticipated violent criminal conduct on the part of third persons.”
     Brody blocked Baker from claiming that the club breached the licensing agreement, and dismissed Tam Tran, the other owner, from the case.
     WUSL Power 99, Clear Channel, Solo Nightclub, Lloyd Tran and Tam Tran had all filed cross-claims, but Brody ordered them on Wednesday to prove that these claims are not moot.
     Last week’s ruling noted that Sigel did not move for summary judgment and that Club Solo is no longer in business.

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