The legal battles over the Travis Scott negligence lawsuits are heating up. The attorney for the rap star and the city of Houston are going back and forth over who is to blame for the deaths and injuries that happened during the crowd surge at Scott’s November 5, 2021 concert in NRG Stadium.
Houston Police Chief Troy Finner has told the media that the responsibility to end the show for safety reasons lies with the performer and his team. Edwin McPherson, the lawyer representing Scott, says that responsibility is shouldered by the director and executive producers—who are not connected to Scott.
McPherson further charged the Houston authorities with what he termed “inconsistent messaging.” McPherson noted previous statements from Finner where he said the show “couldn’t be stopped.” Scott’s attorney argues that moving to then blame the performer amounts to a change in position. McPherson further noted that the police department had shut down power and sound at this venue back in 2019.
Needless to say, the city doesn’t agree with McPherson’s interpretation of events. Samuel Pena, the Houston Fire Chief, said that Scott “has command of that crowd” and could have stopped his performance. Yet they estimate that Scott continued to perform for nearly 40 minutes after audience members pleaded with him to stop.
To briefly recap the tragic event, NRG Stadium was the host to the AstroWorld Festival at which Scott was performing. At 2 p.m. that afternoon, hundreds of fans stormed the VIP area. By around 9 p.m., when Scott was performing, a “crowd surge” began. People were being crushed and injured. Those close to the stage who were aware of what was going on were desperately trying to get Scott to stop his show. For reasons that are not yet known, Scott continued to perform for 37 more minutes.
At least 10 people had died, to say nothing of the hundreds more who were injured. The lawsuits for negligence are still coming.
Thomas Henry, an attorney based in San Antonio, filed a $2 billion lawsuit on behalf of nearly 300 victims, naming Scott and the sponsors of the concert at NRG Stadium itself as the defendants. “The defendants stood to make an exorbitant amount of money…and they still chose to cut corners, cut costs and put attendees at risk,” Henry said.
Tony Buzbee, a Houston-based lawyer, has filed a $750 million lawsuit. One of his clients is the family of Axel Acosta, a 21-year-old who died from injuries sustained in the chaos. Buzbee termed the death “the result of gross negligence.”
All told, there have been 58 separate lawsuits filed against Scott, NRG Stadium and the festival. Given those financial stakes, it’s not hard to understand why Scott’s team and city officials are in a public relations battle over where the blame lies.