Deep Pocket Files: beer defendants kick in $21 million in R.I. fire

“Anheuser-Busch and a Cranston beer distributor have agreed to pay $21 million to settle lawsuits brought by survivors of a 2003 nightclub fire and relatives of the 100 people killed, according to court papers. The February 2003 fire at the Station nightclub in West Warwick began when pyrotechnics used by the rock band Great White ignited flammable soundproofing foam.” More than ninety defendants were sued, and the total of settlements has now topped $122 million from defendants “including Home Depot, which sold insulation used in the club, and Clear Channel Broadcasting, whose local rock radio station promoted the concert”. (“Rhode Island: New Settlement in Nightclub Fire”, AP/New York Times, May 24.)


  • Are Coke and Pepsi next? I’m having some trouble with proximate cause. Maybe my almost 2 decades working for an insurance company handling tort claims has clouded my judgment.

  • Tom, I wonder too: when are they going after the people who sold the lumber, etc. to build the building, the people who paved the parking lot for those cars to park in, the electricians who hooked up the power to the building . . . and the people who gave a permit to build the building and inspected it later–oh, no! That means the TAXPAYERS should be on the hook for the fire as well!!
    Let’s not forget the liquor board and its members too!!

  • well rhode island law (lawmakers) makes all parties resposible to this fire(fact) so look at the law makers who say I have to pay back 50,000 in medical bills to tufts so I had no choice but to sue lets look at the law makers ok. there is money to be made we have to sue for medical bills(fact) so stop with the deep pocket head lines. no one is going to buy a island anywhere!

  • Incorrect, John: lawyers will walk away with between $35 and $50 million, the vast majority of which comes from innocent bystanders.

    You are absolutely correct that Rhode Island law is screwed up to permit such an extortionate atrocity.

  • Even now there still has to be some nexus between the actions of a defendant and liability, right? What is the claim here? It isn’t mentioned in the article. Presumably beer had nothing to do with starting the fire. Is the claim that because people drank beer they were unable to escape?

  • I too was shocked to see that they were able to get so much money out of the beer company and the distributor. They clearly have nothing to do with this other than provide some signs to promote the show. It’s obviously a tragedy but what does Home Depot have to do with this too, just insane. When does an accident get labled as such.

  • […] earlier, including many with peripheral or remote connections to the calamity, such as beer sponsor Anheuser-Busch, which together with a beer distributor agreed to pay $21 million, and radio operator Clear […]