PHILADELPHIA (CN) - A lawsuit filed by a concertgoer who was seriously injured by the stage-diving lead singer of alt-rock group Fishbone can proceed to trial, and the plaintiff can seek punitive damages against the group's manager and the venue operator, a federal judge ruled.
Kimberly Myers says she fractured her skull and collarbone and perforated her eardrum when defendant-rocker Angelo Moore aka Dr. Madd Vibe went airborne during a February 2010 show at World Café Live in Philadelphia.
There's no dispute that Myers suffered severe injuries, U.S. District Judge Jan DuBois said in his opinion.
It's also clear that Dr. Vibe was a known stage-diver prior to the concert, DuBois found.
"Moore is well-known in the industry for his antics on stage, including stage diving," according to the 7-page opinion.
"Fishbone's MySpace Internet page is headlined with a picture of Moore jumping into the audience at a performance; the same picture is featured on the cover of Fishbone's latest album, which was on sale at the World Café performance," DuBois noted.
Fishbone's manager, defendant Silverback Artist Management, therefore must have been aware that Moore stage-dived at performances, the judge found.
"In fact, Silverback was aware of a prior incident in which a member of the audience at a Fishbone performance was injured when Moore dove off the stage," DuBois wrote.
What remains unclear, however, is the degree of involvement and control that Silverback had in planning the show, he wrote.
Silverback and Real Entertainment Inc., which operates World Café Live, asked that plaintiff Myers be precluded from pursuing punitive damages, claiming such damages are inappropriate because the companies weren't aware of the stage-diving risk to Myers prior to the accident, and that they weren't in a position to prevent her injuries.
But Dubois said it's still uncertain whether this was truly the case, denying motions for summary judgment.
With respect to Real Entertainment's possible punitive liability, "it is unclear whether members of Fishbone or the touring crew ever notified Real Entertainment employees that stage diving would be a part of the performance," the judge wrote.
And concerning Silverback, "There exist genuine issues of material fact as to the role that Silverback played in booking and producing the Fishbone performance on the night in question," he added.
World Café Live is associated with the University of Pennsylvania, also a defendant in the case.
The venue shares space and a business relationship with the school's radio station, WXPN. Sans settlement, the case could be tried in front of a jury before the end of October.
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