Music Festival Liable for Foreseeable Harm at Festival -- Are Dodgers Liable for Foreseeable Violence Following Series Win?

Timothy Kowal, Esq.
October 29, 2020

An event operator may be liable when an event attendee dies after engaging in foreseeable illegal activity at the event -- overdosing on illegal drugs. So holds the Second Appellate District in Dix v. Live Nation Entertainment, Inc. (D2d7 Oct. 26, 2020) B289596. Live Nation hosted a large "electronic music" festival at the Pomona Fairplex with 65,000 attendees. It was foreseeable that the young people who would attend the event were likely to use illegal drugs at the event. And that they were likely to overdose. And thus that they would need require medical care while at the event.

"Some moral blame attaches to a music festival operator's negligent failure to prevent foreseeable harm to attendees."

The following day, riots and looting broke out following the Dodgers World Series victory. Violence at or after Dodgers games has become, unfortunately, a foreseeable phenomenon. The Dix court presents two cases that may be of interest in determining the Dodgers' potential exposure to liability.

In Sakiyama v. AMF Bowling Centers, Inc. (2003) 110 Cal.App.4th 398, two teenagers attended an all-night rave party at defendant's roller skating rink, then, under the influence of drugs imbibed at the rave, got into a car accident on their way home. Held: no liability for events outside and after the event.

But Sakiyama distinguished Weirum v. RKO General, Inc. (1975) 15 Cal.3d 40, where a radio station with "an extensive teenage audience" held a contest for listeners to locate a disc jockey driving around Los Angeles. Participants in the contest negligently caused the death of a third party driver in a car accident. Held: the radio station was liable for foreseeable reckless conduct conducted as part of the radio station's contest.

Seems a close call. My suggestion is that Los Angeles stick to Stanley Cups.