Sony Music Holdings Inc. was ordered to pay $160 million for its role in failing to protect patrons at a 2017 concert in downtown Atlanta, Georgia.
Beasley Allen Atlanta lawyer Parker Miller said the verdict, which came after several years of litigation, represented a “day of justice” for the clients and the safety of those who attend concerts across America.
In November 2017, a gunman opened fire at a concert in the Underground Atlanta, Masquerade venue in downtown Atlanta. Four people were shot; Giovan Diaz, 22, and Ewell Ynoa, 21, died.
Miller, who served as lead trial counsel in the litigation, discussed how the case’s unique nature led to the verdict.
“The trial was incredibly emotional because of what these families, and the world, lost. One of these men had been told he would be a father just a few hours before the shooting happened. Combine that with the fact the concert endangered everyone, and this defendant refused to participate in the legal process, and you get the type of verdict we saw here.”
Witnesses testified that the two victims were on the verge of breaking through in the music industry before their deaths. Those attending the trial said their suffering was horrific before they died.
Darren Summerville of The Summerville Firm and part of the trial team said he struggled to find an “emotional and heartbreaking” case like this one.
“Juries don’t award these types of verdicts unless there is a confluence of circumstances, which was the case here,” Summerville said. “Our system has always turned to our citizens to lend a voice when a company endangers others with wholly unnecessary suffering and death. Just as importantly, ignoring the legal process always represents a risk for an entity that thinks it need not participate.”
The trial consisted of two previously consolidated cases. They included Rachel St. Fleur, et. al, v. Sony Music Holdings, Inc., et al., case number 18A69571, and Xavier Diaz, et al., v. Sony Music Holdings, Inc., case number 19A77518.