Lighting Truss Launches Multiple Lawsuits
Disc jockey Ron Mathews arrived at the junior high dance in plenty of time to set up. He had been looking forward to the gig all week, but knew it would take a lot of work to get ready. After he arranged the equipment on his tables, he immediately got busy setting up the portable light truss behind his DJ area. It was tall and heavy – standing at 9 feet high and 10 feet long, and weighing more than 1,000 pounds. He took his time and finished with a half an hour to spare.
Ron was thrilled with the response to his first set – most of the kids were dancing and having fun. But like most junior high dances, there were a few kids who had their own agenda. Halfway through the dance, a group of restless teenagers started a fight in the parking lot. All of the adult chaperones went outside to break up the brawl. During that time, Ron stepped away to use the restroom.
While Ron was away, some kids decided to jump over his table and explore the DJ area. In the process of jumping over the tables, they knocked into the lighting truss and it toppled over. The truss crashed onto the dance floor, injuring 12 students!
The kids had varying injuries, ranging from stitches to staples to concussions. One girl had a cut on her face that required plastic surgery. The incident created 12 individual lawsuits, one from each family, and one class action lawsuit from the entire group attending the dance. Ron argued that he wasn’t negligent – he had set up his equipment behind tables and the school was responsible for its own supervision. The prosecution argued that it was the DJ’s job to make sure the lighting truss could not be knocked over, even if kids were near it.
The litigation lasted three years, and in the end, Ron was found 75 percent liable for the accident. He was assigned punitive damages three times the actual medical bills, resulting in a payout of $750,000.
Fortunately, Ron protected his interests with the DJ/KJ/VJ insurance program exclusively available through R.V. Nuccio and Associates. R.V. Nuccio defended Ron and paid $750,000 on his behalf. Ron learned firsthand the importance of DJ-tailored insurance. If he hadn’t secured the proper coverage, the claim would have wiped out his business and possibly his personal assets too.
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Note: This case study is based on real claims scenarios. However, the story has been fictionalized to protect the privacy of those involved.