Stage Diving Risks In Spotlight After $1.4 Million Court Ruling

Los Angeles-based alt-rockers Fishbone and their frontman Angelo Moore have been ordered by a Pennsylvania judge to pay nearly USD$1.4 million in damages to a woman who was severely injured during a stage dive which went horribly wrong back in 2010.

THR reports the incident took place on 23rd February, 2010, at a performance by the band at Philadelphia’s World Live Cafe. 46-year-old Kimberly Myers was transported to hospital after being knocked to the ground and fracturing her skull when Moore dove into the crowd.

Myers originally sued the band shortly after the incident in 2010, coming to a settlement with Fishbone’s management company and tour promoter. She then sued again in 2012, this time for negligence on Moore’s behalf, and he never responded to the complaint. Because of this, a default was entered and a new hearing was set up to determine appropriate damages.

In this new hearing, US District Judge Jan DuBois asked Moore, who sometimes goes by the name “Dr Madd Vibe”, whether or not he had taken any drugs prior to the World Cafe Live show. Moore did not give any reply in response, and judge proclaimed that “the Court infers from Moore’s invocation of the Fifth Amendment that his testimony would have been unfavorable to his interests”.

Moore did testify that he doesn’t give audience members any warning prior to stage diving, because “that gives away the whole…theatrics or the spontaneity”. He also confessed that every couple of months an ambulance is called to one of their gigs.

But what does he think are the risks of stage diving? According to his testimony, “The risk that you might hit the floor,” and what he called lawsuit “predators”.

Myers, who has reported various lingering medical symptoms since the incident, claimed that her immediate medical bills came to USD$15,846. She also estimated that her future medical costs would run up to USD$351,299. Judge DuBois awarded Myers compensatory damages for both amounts.

The judge also said that Myers was entitled to non-economic damages for future pain and suffering, any possible embarrassment, humiliation, and loss of the ability to enjoy the pleasures of life and disfigurement. This decision added another USD$750,000 to the tab.

Finally, Judge DuBois said punitive damages should be assessed solely against the band’s lead singer, noting Moore’s refusal to answer questions relating to his drug use and his acknowledgement of the risks stage diving posed to audience members. “Further, Moore exhibits little remorse or impetus to change his conduct,” the judge said, adding another USD$250,000 to the bill.

The decision in awarding these damages to Myers was also partially informed by Moore’s previous testimony in the original 2010 lawsuit. The judge in that case noted the fact that Moore and Fishbone had been stage diving into crowds since the 1980s, and even continued to do it after Myers’ 2010 incident.

The future of Moore and Fishbone, who have now released seven studio albums after rising to prominence in the 1980s, is unknown at this stage.

Stage diving has had a bit of a bad wrap recently, with dubstep hero Skrillex being sued over a dive which reportedly ended with a fan having a stroke, George Watsky injuring himself and two audience members after attempting a 12 metre stage dive at the Vans Warped Tour in London and a Suicidal Tendencies fan dying after stage diving in Switzerland.

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