Rapper Sues Insurer for Failing to Cover Students’ Deaths

October 31, 2006

Rapper Heavy D has filed a $1.5 million (euro1.2 million) lawsuit against an insurance company he says refused to pay damages to people who sued him after nine students were crushed to death in a stampede at a celebrity basketball game he helped organize.

The rapper, whose real name is Dwight Myers, says in court papers that in 1989 he bought a $1 million (euro790,000) policy from National Union Fire Insurance Co. of Pittsburgh that covered him for anything involving his work as an entertainer.

Myers, 39, contends in court papers that his entertainment work included a heavily promoted basketball game featuring music stars that he, rap mogul Sean Combs and others organized in the City College of New York’s Nat Holman Gymnasium on Dec. 28, 1991.

A stampede occurred at that event after some 5,000 young people showed up at the gym, which had a capacity of about 2,700. Fans crowded down a stairwell to a closed door, where people at the bottom were crushed, nine fatally.

Myers’ lawsuit, filed Friday in Manhattan’s state Supreme Court, says the insurance company exhausted its legal appeals and has been ordered by the state Supreme Court’s Appellate Division to reimburse him for payments to victims or their families.

His lawyer, Paul Martin, said Monday that the lawsuit seeks a determination of how much National Union will have to pay his client.

Myers seeks reimbursement of $791,899 (euro622,709) — plus interest of $381,167 (euro299,730) — for personal-injury and wrongful-death claims and is asking for $324,919 (euro255,500) for legal fees and costs incurred in suing the insurance company.

A spokesman for the insurance company, Peter Tulupman, said he could not comment on pending litigation.

Topics Lawsuits Carriers

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