Third negligence lawsuit filed against All Good Music Festival, Maryland-based Walther Productions

(All Good Festival website )
October 25, 2011|By Erik Maza | The Baltimore Sun

A third person involved in a car accident at this year's All Good Music Festival has sued the organizers, Maryland-based Walther Productions.

The jam band festival, which takes place in July in West Virginia, was accused of negligence in a pair of lawsuits filed earlier this month by two other victims, a young woman who was injured and the father of a young woman who died as a result of the car accident.

In an interview last week, an attorney for the organizers defended the festival’s safety record. Meanwhile, West Virginia police say a full report on the accident will be completed in the first weeks of November.

The accident took place July 17, when a festival attendee, Clay Harlin Lewin, parked atop a hill lost control of his truck and crashed into a campsite below, killing Nicole Farris Miller, a 20-year-old South Carolina woman; and injuring Yen Ton, who sued the festival earlier this month, and Elizabeth Rose Doran, the latest victim to sue the festival.

The plaintiffs say the festival’s organizers allowed for an unsafe atmosphere by allowing parking close to the campsite.

In a lawsuit filed with Clarksburg’s U.S. district court, Doran alleges Walther Productions “failed to exercise reasonable care to prevent” the accident “and to protect all festival attendees of potential injuries resulting from the negligent and reckless act of parking the vehicles on a hill/slope which did not adequately provide traction and protection for the festival attendees.”

Again, Walther Productions, a Maryland-based promoter that often books shows at Rams Head Live, the 8X10 and Washington's 9:30 Club, is named a defendant, alongside president Tim Walther; Marvin’s Mountaintop, where the festival is held; and several of the festival's vendors, including parking and security operators, among others.

Miller’s father, Kim S. Miller, lodged a wrongful-death lawsuit against the festival earlier this month also seeking punitive damages.

Bob Martin, the attorney for Walther Productions, defended organizers against the accusations, saying the festival had strong security measures in place for attendees.

“They did their best in providing safety measures for their fans,” he said. "I’ve been extremely impressed with the organization, and the preparation on the ground before and during the festival. They had security by stages, people in charge of parking, and provided space for law enforcement.”

Martin also said that organizers have been independently investigating the accident since July, and that they have found out new information that “changes what everyone thought initially.”

He declined to elaborate.

Preston County Sheriff Dallas Wolfe said West Virginia State Police have completed an accident reconstruction report. The department's own report on the accident won't be released until November.

The county's prosecuting attorney, Mel Snyder, would then decide whether to press additional criminal charges.

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