Lawyers for Astroworld victims get access to the festival’s site, as calls for independent investigation increase


November 10, 2021

A judge has now issued an order that will allow lawyers working for victims of last week’s Astroworld crowd surge to inspect and document the festival’s site at NRG Park in Houston, Texas. Securing such an order was one of the key reasons for those lawyers rush filing litigation on behalf of those impacted by the tragic events that took place during Travis Scott’s headline set last Friday night.

Eight people died and hundreds more were injured as a result of the dangerous crowd surge that occurred during the first night of Scott’s Astroworld festival. A criminal investigation is now well underway that is seeking to identify the sequence of events that led to the injuries and deaths, and to what extent poor planning or bad decision making on the ground contributed to the tragedy.

In addition to the criminal investigation, a stack of civil lawsuits on behalf of the families of those who died, and others who were injured or otherwise affected by Friday’s events, have now been filed. The number of lawsuits filed or pending topped 35 by last night, with more still expected.

Lawyers working on all that litigation are keen to ensure that any evidence that might help confirm what happened on Friday – or possibly prove the liabilities of different parties involved in the event – is retained and made accessible. Hence the demand that the court issue a temporary injunction ensuring that happens.

According to Billboard, the various defendants named in the lawsuits – in particular Scott himself and the festival’s two promoters, Live Nation and Scoremore – agreed to the basic requests being made by the plaintiffs and their legal teams. With that in mind, Harris County District Judge Ravi K Sandill issued the required court order, technically in response to the first lawsuit filed, but it covers all the litigation that has been formally instigated.

As a result of the order, teams working for the plaintiffs were able to access the Astroworld site from yesterday, with access also available today and tomorrow. Sandill noted that while the defendants had not objected to this order, that doesn’t stop them from fighting the lawsuits, or seeking to force any legal action to another court.

Back with the criminal investigation, calls are mounting for independent investigators to be brought in to head up that work. That’s on the basis that the local police department was involved in the policing of Astroworld, which means it now leading on the criminal investigation into what happened to cause last week’s tragedy possibly constitutes a conflict of interest.

A spokesperson for the police department declined to comment on that possible conflict, nor whether police chiefs were considering handing the investigation over to an outside agency.

However, the elected county judge of Harris County, Lina Hidalgo, has indicated that she would like some sort of independent investigation to take place, telling reporters: “These families are grieving and it’s so much harder to do so without answers”.

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