Hard Rock cleared in Akoi incident

September 2016

Live events sector


A jury has rejected a concert-goer’s claim for $10.7 million in damages against Hard Rock Hotel after she was injured at a Steve Aoki show when the DJ leapt into an inflatable raft in the crowd. Brittany Hickman, then in her mid twenties, allegedly suffered a concussion and a broken neck when she became trapped under the inflatable raft during a performance at Hard Rock in San Diego in 2012. According to Courtroom View Network, Hickman’s attorneys said Hard Rock should have known Aoki would leap into the crowd and should have taken steps to protect the audience. Hard Rock argued it was given no warning Aoki would perform the stunt, and claimed Hickman’s injuries weren’t as severe as she alleged.
Her attorneys presented multiple expert witnesses who testified that the impact left her with a traumatic brain injury requiring a lifetime of costly medical care, but during his closing argument on behalf of the hotel Ernest Weiss of Klinedinst PC dismissed those experts as hired guns brought in to secure a large verdict. Hickman’s attorney John Gomez told the jury that her concussion left her with an impaired memory, slowed mental processing, migraines and vertigo. He asked the panel to award $2 million for past pain and suffering and $8 million for the future, plus up to $783,500 in medical expenses.
The defence said that Aoki made a decision to try the jump just five minutes before the concert started, pointing to testimony from Aoki’s tour manager stating that the stunt was unplanned.


The jury reached a 10-2 verdict in favour of Hard Rock Cafe following a two-week trial. Aoki settled out of court with Hickman before the trial began.
A representative for Aoki told Billboard: “Steve would never want anyone to get hurt at one of his shows and is sorry Ms. Hickman did. After they reached a confidential settlement, they had the chance to speak, and Steve got the chance to apologise. The favorable verdict for his co-defendant, Hard Rock Hotel, brings welcome closure to all parties.”
Hickman v. Hard Rock Cafe International, case number 37-2013-00064985-CU-PO-CTL, in San Diego County Superior Court.
On the 21st August at least 15 people were injured in a ceiling collapse at Oslo music venue Sentrum Scene last night which was hosting a show by Steve Aoki – part of a freshers’ week event organised by the BI Norwegian Business School. a roughly 1sqm (10.7sqft) part of the ceiling came away, showering students in chunks of plaster and concrete.





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