Federal Judge Awards $1.4 Mil. for Stage-Diving Injury

, The Legal Intelligencer

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Four years after the lead singer of the band Fishbone cracked the skull of a concertgoer with a stage dive, a federal judge has entered a judgment of $1.4 million against members of the band.

Kimberly Myers, who attended the February 2010 concert at the World Cafe Live in University City where Fishbone was the opening act, has had severe and persistent medical problems from the injuries she suffered when Angelo Moore dove from the stage and into the crowd where she was standing, U.S. District Judge Jan E. DuBois of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania found.

He entered judgment against Moore and the band's bassist, John Norwood Fisher, for $1.1 million in compensatory damages and a judgment against Moore for $250,000 in punitive damages.

"Moore, who refused to answer questions at his deposition regarding his use of illicit drugs on the date of the incident in question, intentionally dove from an elevated stage despite knowing that stage diving in and of itself poses a serious risk of harm to audience members. Further, Moore exhibits little remorse or impetus to change his conduct," DuBois said in his discussion of punitive damages in the case captioned Myers v. Moore.

"Moore continues to stage dive at almost every performance and exhibits nothing but apathy ... towards his victims, whom he repeatedly characterized, during his deposition, as 'predators' out to steal his money," DuBois said.

During his deposition, "Moore invoked the Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination in response to the question of 'whether or not [he] did any drugs for the World Cafe Live show on February 23, 2010,'" DuBois said. "The court infers from Moore's invocation of the Fifth Amendment that his testimony would have been unfavorable to his interests."

The judge had noted that both Moore and Fisher knew that stage diving poses a risk of injury to audience members since Moore had testified during his deposition that ambulances are called to the band's concert venues every couple of months for an injury.

However, "Moore's primary concern when he is stage diving is with his own safety and with the potential for what Moore believes to be frivolous lawsuits filed by 'predators,'" DuBois said.

In a footnote, DuBois cited Moore's testimony that said when he stage dives, he tries to jump into the most densely packed crowd in order to minimize his own potential for injury.

In another footnote, DuBois quoted Moore explaining that he saw some audience members as litigious "predators" after a suit similar to Myers' was filed elsewhere. After that suit was filed, Moore said, "I thought to myself, it's predators out there, man, there's predators to me."

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