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August 24, 2016

Seventeen injured at concert sue Camden venue, Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa

Lawsuits Injuries
Camden Collapse 1 - Mongeluzzi Hayden Mitman /for PhillyVoice

During a press conference on Wednesday, attorney Robert J. Mongeluzzi points to a photo of a railing that broke during a Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa concert at the BB&T Pavilion in Camden, New Jersey, on Aug. 5, 2016. Attorneys announced 17 individuals are suing after suffering injuries in the collapse.

After 42 people were hurt when a railing collapsed at a Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa concert earlier this month, 17 people are now suing the rappers as well as Live Nation, the venue operator and the event promoter. 

Attorneys from the firm of Saltz, Mongeluzzi, Barrett and Bendesky, along with attorney Steven G. Wigrizer of Wapner Newman, announced Wednesday morning they had filed the lawsuit, stemming from the Aug. 5 incident at BB&T Pavilion in Camden, New Jersey.

The lawyers said those injured in the drop fell between six and seven feet onto a concrete surface. The 17 people involved in the lawsuit suffered serious injuries, according to their lawyers, including six who had concussions, several with broken bones and one person who suffered a broken spine. 

"The issue, in this case, is proper planning and safely locating the stage," attorney Robert Mongeluzzi said.

As retold by Mongeluzzi, the railing collapse occurred during a concert that was part of the "High Road Tour," a collaboration between Wiz Khalifa and Snoop Dogg. A few songs into the performance, the rappers moved to a second stage located just in front of the open yard at the back of the venue. 

This second stage, the attorneys said, was situated lower than the grass yard seating on a sunken concrete path, protected only by a railing along the front edge of the yard. 

When the performers stepped onto this second stage, the crowd rushed forward to get a better look. Snoop Dogg can be heard in various video recordings from the concert telling the crowd in the yard to gather closer to see the show.

WATCH videos taken during the railing collapse (Warning the video below contains profanity.): 

"Everybody in the m*****f***ing grass, 
get your ass down here," the rapper said moments before the collapse of the railing. 

During the morning announcement, attorneys shared images of the railing after the collapse, showing where it broke. 

According to Mongeluzzi, because there were no seats or aisles in the yard, there was no way to stop a crowd surge that led to the collapse. 

"There was absolutely no way to control crowd surge," Mongeluzzi said. "All we had here is a railing that ran across a concrete wall." 

When the railing collapsed, concertgoers tumbled over each other, all falling onto the concrete below. Among 17 clients represented by the attorneys, 14 were concert attendees and three others were working at the venue. 

Hayden Mitman /for PhillyVoice

This image, shared by attorneys for those injured in the Aug. 5 railing collapse, shows the positioning of the second stage and where the railing broke.

"What happened here should have been prevented," attorney Andrew R. Duffy said. "The majority of people fell headfirst. That could have been catastrophic." 

Jeffery P. Goodman added one his clients is a freshman in college who suffered " a concussion so severe that she won't be able to take part in the sport that she was going to school for."

According to Mongeluzzi, the problem was exacerbated by the fact that 24 hours after the collapse, the venue held another show and protected the area by putting in a pair of barriers that prevented a crowd from getting close to the damaged railing. 

These types of preventative measures could have kept anyone from getting hurt in the first place, he said. 

Also, he said, the attorneys plan to have the railing tested by a metallurgist and a construction engineer to determine if it was damaged or faulty before the collapse or if it fell due to the shear weight of the crowd surging against it. 

"How can you re-open the venue if you don't know what caused the accident?" Mongeluzzi said. 

Paperwork for the lawsuit was filed Wednesday. A representative from Live Nation reached Wednesday declined to comment on the lawsuit. Calls and emails to representatives from Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa were not immediately returned.