Great White Makes Offer In Nightclub Fire Lawsuit
Wed, 03 Sep 2008 10:00:25
Great White has made a million-dollar offer to the survivors and relatives of victims in the February 2003 nightclub fire that killed 100 (including guitarist Ty Longley) and injured more than 200 in West Warwick, RI. The band's tentative settlement arrives in the wake of around $175 million in separate lawsuits filed against dozens of other defendants.
According to court papers acquired by the Associated Press, Great White does not claim responsibility for the fire despite the fact that the band's tour manager, Daniel Biechele, set off the pyrotechnics that sparked it. Biechele pleaded guilty to 100 counts of involuntary manslaughter in 2006. He was paroled in March of this year after serving less than half of a four-year prison sentence.
The bit-by-bit settlement of cases related to the Rhode Island tragedy has greatly hurt the chances of a criminal trial against such defendants as the club's owners (Jeffrey and Michael Derderian) and the foam companies responsible for the flammable material that fanned the fire.
"I just feel that we're never going to get the answers we need that would put some of this to rest for us," Chris Fontaine told the Associated Press. Fontaine's son, Mark, was killed in the fire and her daughter, Melanie, was badly injured. She added, "(The band is) getting off easily."
—The ARTISTdirect Staff