Rhode Island Radio Station Denied in Bid to be Removed from Nightclub Fire Lawsuit

By | September 28, 2005

Radio station WHJY will remain a defendant in a civil lawsuit resulting from The Station nightclub fire in Rhode Island.

The lawsuit filed on behalf of 146 survivors and 80 victims’ families names the radio station as one of 46 defendants. It says WHJY is liable because it sponsored the February 2003 concert where pyrotechnics sparked a fire that killed 100 people.

WHJY disc jockey Michael Gonsalves, known as Dr. Metal, died in the fire.

Clear Channel Broadcasting and a subsidiary that took over the station from WHJY Inc. had asked Senior U.S. District Judge Ronald Lagueux to dismiss the claims. He refused to do so.

“To the extent that plaintiffs can establish that WHJY had control over the planning and operation of the concert, then the court can find that WHJY . . . failed to take any steps to prevent the ignition of the fireworks inside the small and crowded nightclub,” Lagueux said in a decision.

The lawsuit points out that WHJY advertised the concert, hung a banner outside the nightclub inviting people to “party with WHJY,” gave out free tickets and took part in other promotional activities.

Lagueux noted the suit’s claim that WHJY was familiar with Great White, the band performing that night, and knew or should have known that it used illegal fireworks in previous shows.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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