Pop singer and television star Gwen Stefani is being sued by a Mecklenburg County woman, who claims she was hurt when Stefani started a “stampede rush” during a 2016 concert at PNC Music Pavilion.
Lisa Keri Stricklin claims in the suit that her leg was broken by fans rushing toward the stage at Stefani’s invitation during the July 23, 2016, show. Stricklin is seeking $150,000.
“Stefani unilaterally announced...that all patrons in the lawn seating area should come to the reserved seating area and the front of the performance stage,” states the suit.
“This announcement created a stampede rush of patrons from the lawn seating area through the reserved seating area...with people knocking over and breaching the security barricades...jumping over seats in the reserved seating area, and pouring in through the aisles separating the various sections of the reserved seating area.”
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Stricklin claims she was trampled by the rush “causing her severe physical injuries.” Costly surgery and other medical treatments have been required for her injuries and treatment continues a year later, says the lawsuit.
Stefani is accused in the suit of gross negligence and recklessness.
The lawsuit also accuses concert promoter Live Nation Entertainment of failing to properly supervise Stefani during the show, so the incident could have been avoided.
Stricklin claims in the suit that she had reserved seating, and was accompanied by several friends, in celebration of her birthday
An Observer review of the concert noted the crowd was small. For the first seven songs, Stefani ignored the empty seats near the stage. But she later decided to ask security to allow fans to come closer.
“I don't think anybody’s gonna care,” she told the crowd.
Within less than two minutes, the number of fans in the pit area near the stage about tripled in size, the Observer reported. “Just fill in anywhere you like,” Stefani told concert goers. “Who cares about your lawn chairs? You can get new ones.”
Stefani told the crowd later in the show that she had been chastised for inviting fans to come closer to the stage. “I got in so much trouble for telling you guys to come up here,” she said, according to the Observer’s account. “It was fun. ... But you guys kind of have to move out of the fire lane, or else I’m dead. ... So can you please get back to your seats?”
A representative for Live Nation told Rolling Stone magazine this week that the company “does not comment on pending or ongoing litigation.”