THREE MORE COMPANIES OFFER SETTLEMENTS IN STATION FIRE CASE:
March 27, 2008
Three more parties sued by victims of The Station nightclub fire have offered tentative settlements in the civil cases now pending in U.S. District Court.
JBL Incorporated, formerly known as James B. Lansing Sound doing business as JBL Professional, which allegedly manufactured amplifiers and speakers used in the nightclub the night of the deadly fire on Feb. 20, 2003, has offered to settle for $815,000.
The lawsuits filed by the fire victims allege that the speakers and amplifiers contained highly flammable foam and “were a proximate cause of the personal injuries and/or deaths of the decedents in the combustion of the so-called Station nightclub.”
The other two parties offering to settle are ABC Bus Inc., and Superstar Services LLC, which provided bus transportation for the rock band Great White to The Station for its concert, as well as more than 25 kilograms of explosive fireworks material that the band carried on its road trip. Together they are offering $500,000.
Sparks from fireworks set off by Great White’s manager, Daniel M. Biechele, ignited highly flammable polyurethane foam that the owners of The Station, Jeffrey and Michael Derderian, had installed as soundproofing in the club. One hundred people died as a result of the fire; more than 200 others were injured.
The new settlement offers — disclosed yesterday in federal court filings — brings the pool of settlement money offered thus far to $72.815 million. But the settlement offers are only tentative at this point and the fire victims and their families won’t be getting any of the money anytime soon.
The offers are contingent on the plaintiffs and Senior U.S. District Judge Ronald R. Lagueux agreeing to them. The judge must make a determination that each settlement offer is being made in good faith before any of the money is disbursed.
A court-appointed special master is working on a matrix that would be used to determine how much each plaintiff would receive. That also must be approved by the court.
Not every plaintiff will share equally in whatever proceeds are given out. The grid being devised by Duke University law Prof. Francis E. McGovern — who is donating his services to the fire victims — takes into account such things as the severity of injury and number of dependent survivors. Those suing for money damages include those who were injured in the blaze and their family members and the families of those who perished.
There’s also another condition: before any money is put into the pot, the lawyers representing those who want to settle want some assurance that if they pay now, they won’t be on the hook for more money later if the case goes to trial and other defendants who don’t settle are found liable and then try to come after them for part of the verdict.
Courtesy of www.projo.com