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Gwen Stefani

Judge Denies Stefani’s Motion For Summary Judgment In Concert Stampede Suit

Gwen Stefani By Lorie Shaull CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons
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CHARLOTTE, NC (CelebrityAccess) — A Federal Court in North Carolina has rejected Gwen Stefani’s motion for summary judgment in a lawsuit brought against her after she was alleged to have incited a stampede at a concert.

The lawsuit stems from a 2016 concert at Live Nation’s PNC Music Pavilion. During the show, Stefani exhorted the crowd in the lawn seating area to come into the venue’s reserved seating area, closer to the stage.

“I’m just going to tell you something. I’m just going to talk to the security guards for one second. If anyone wants to come down a little closer so I can see you a little better, just come on down, I don’t think anyone’s going to care, like just fill it in and like and you know, who cares about your lawn chairs, you can get new ones,” Stefani told the crowd from stage, according to the suit.

During the resultant throng, plaintiff Lisa Keri Stricklin claims in the suit that she suffered permanent injury to her leg and is seeking $150,000 from Stefani and Live Nation in compensation for her injuries.

In August, Stefani filed the motion for summary judgment, noting that her speech is protected under the first amendment and cannot be held liable to tort in civil court. Stefani’s attorneys cited a previous 1998 suit McCollum v. CBS in which Ozzy Osbourne had been sued over his music, which the plaintiffs in the case claimed contributed to the suicide of their son.

In McCollum, the court ruled that Ozzy’s music was in fact protected speech and that he was not liable in the suit, but the same tactic didn’t work for Stefani’s legal team.

In his ruling, Judge Robert J. Conrad ruled that Stefani’s motion did not address her alleged negligence and that the court “disagrees that the First Amendment immunizes all other speech falling outside these categories, including negligent speech which results in bodily injury to others.”

The case is now headed to a jury trial.

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