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Court Rejects Wrongful Death Claim Against Concert Planners in Recent Drunk-Driving Case

Recently, a federal appellate court issued a written opinion in a personal injury case involving a fatal drunk driving accident that occurred during the South-By-Southwest Music Festival (SXSW). The case required the court to determine if the plaintiff’s lawsuit against the event planners should proceed toward trial. Ultimately, the court concluded that the plaintiff’s case against the event planners should be dismissed because the defendants did not control the area where the accident occurred.

The Facts of the Case

According to the court’s opinion, the SXSW festival is a city-wide event with various venues across the city participating in festival activities. Thus, the event planners routinely applied for special use permits from the city to close certain city blocks. Specifically, the use permit that was obtained by the event planners stated that all “traffic controls must be provided in accordance with the approved traffic control plan.

One early morning during the festival, police attempted to pull over a motorist for a minor traffic infraction. However, the driver fled police and drove through a series of barriers and directly into a crowd of people. The plaintiffs were the surviving loved ones of a man who was killed by the drunk driver.

The plaintiffs brought a personal injury lawsuit against the SXSW event planners, claiming that they should have used more substantial traffic barriers to prevent a motorist from driving through the barriers and into the crowd. The event planners argued that they did not owe the plaintiff’s loved one a duty of care because they did not control the area where the accident occurred.

The Court’s Opinion

The court began its analysis by noting that a premises liability plaintiff must be able to prove that the defendant was in control of the area to establish liability. The court noted that a plaintiff must do more than claim the defendant was in control of the area; there must be some evidence that the defendant controlled the area.

Here, the court held that the event planners did not assume control of the area where the accident occurred when they obtained the use permit. The court explained that the use permit explicitly mentioned that “all traffic controls must be provided in accordance with the approved traffic control plan.” This, the court held, showed that control of the area was not delegated to the event planners by the use permit.

Have You Been Injured in a Florida Car Accident?

If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a Florida car accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. Regardless of whether the accident occurred on a public road, a parking lot or a street that was closed for a special event, the dedicated South Florida car accident lawyers at the law firm of Friedman Rodman & Frank can help. At Friedman Rodman & Frank, we represent Florida injury victims in all types of Florida personal injury and wrongful death cases, including car accidents. To learn more, call 877-448-8585 to schedule a free consultation today.

More Blog Posts:

Court Discusses Caterer’s Liability in Recent Food-Poisoning Case, South Florida Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, published September 19, 2018.

Florida Personal Injury Victims and the Importance of Being Careful When Settling a Case, South Florida Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, published October 4, 2018.

 

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