Live Nation Must Face Lawsuit Over Teen’s Drug Overdose Death at Festival, Judge Rules

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A state judge has ruled that Live Nation must face a lawsuit from the family of a 19-year-old woman who died of a drug overdose at the 2015 Hard Summer Music Festival in Pomona, California. According to documents viewed by Pitchfork, Superior Court of Los Angeles County Judge Dan Thomas Oki found that “an operator of electronic music festivals like Live Nation owes a duty of reasonable care to festival attendees,” reversing the trial court’s summary judgement in favor of Live Nation. 

The family of Katie Dix, then a 19-year-old rising sophomore at Cal State Channel Islands, must still prove to a jury that the company breached its duty and caused her death. The lawsuit was first filed in July 2016, and named Live Nation (the event organizer), the Los Angeles County Fair Association (the venue operator), and both Los Angeles County (owner of the fairgrounds) and the city of Pomona, asserting negligence and a breach of their duties to protect people from distributing or consuming illegal drugs. The suit alleges a toxicology report found MDMA and Ethylone, a chemical commonly referred to as “bath salts.”

Earlier this month, Live Nation launched a resource for Black live music industry professionals in an attempt to increase inclusivity in live music; the company was sued in July for race and gender discrimination by furloughed executive Candace Newman. In May, Live Nation furloughed 20 percent of its employees after raising $800 million in a debt sale. 

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