The parents of 15-year-old Sasha Rodriguez are suing the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Commission, the event company Insomniac, Coliseum events manager Todd DeStefano, and two of his companies for her LA County wrongful death. The teenager overdosed on Ecstasy last summer after participating in a rave at the Electric Daisy Carnival.
Rodriguez parents are accusing the defendants of negligent supervision and inadequate staffing at the rave. Not only did their daughter, who was under the age limit of 16 and was not asked to show ID, take an illegal drug while at the venue, but also they contend that the event was understaffed and overcrowded and employees were not properly trained.
These circumstances allegedly led to emergency medical services and security not being able to get to their daughter immediately. The plaintiffs estimate that the delayed response to Rodriguez's emergency situation was about 20 minutes. On June 29, 2010, Rodriguez's parents, who were told that she would never regain brain function, were forced to give their consent to have their daughter be "terminally extubated."
Per the Los Angeles wrongful death complaint of Rodriguez's family, Insomniac President Pasquale Rotella later admitted to the Los Angeles Weekly that the company never planned to enforce the age 16 restriction, which was merely used as a marketing tool to generate sales. The plaintiffs believe that the defendants should have been aware that a rave's environment would "enable... illicit an illegal activity" and that this would endanger the safety and health of attendees. They also claim that DeStefano and Insomniac worked it so that attendance at the rave went beyond reasonable capacity and limited security at the event to lower production costs. They blame the Coliseum for its negligent supervision of DeStefano.
Following 2010 Electric Daisy event, 118 attendees ended up in emergency rooms. Also, Rodriguez's death is not the only one linked to an Insomniac event. At the Monster Massive rave at the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena in 2007, 21-year-old Michelle Yuenshan Lee was discovered convulsive and unconscious. It wasn't until over an hour after she was found that she was given emergency medical assistance. She died from a drug overdose.
At the 2009 Electric Daisy Carnival, a number of people with drug-related illnesses were also transported to hospitals. One 18-year-old suffered four strokes, multiple organ failure, and went into a comma for two months.
L.A. Coliseum, Insomniac sued by parents of dead teenager, LA Times, September 8, 2011
Read the Complaint (PDF)
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Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Commission
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Event facilitators and premise owners can be held liable for Los Angeles personal injury or wrongful death if their negligence created the dangerous situation or condition at the property where the event occurred. You will want to work with an experienced Los Angeles premises liability law firm that knows how to prove liability.