Station Owners File Bankruptcy

The former owners of West Warwick, R.I.’s The Station nightclub – brothers Jeffrey and Michael Derderian – have filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection.

The September 23rd filing was one week before the brothers were to stand trial in Workers Compensation Court for not making full payments to the estates of four workers killed in their club, and a month before new federal bankruptcy laws take effect.

The Derderians’ club burned down in 2003, killing 100 people. They owe tens of thousands of dollars to the employees’ estates and a $1.07 million fine for failing to carry the required insurance.

The brothers’ lawyer believes the filing will quash those proceedings, and an emergency order to prevent the Derderians from appearing at Workers Compensation Court was filed at press time.

Meanwhile, radio station WHJY will remain a defendant in a civil lawsuit, according to Senior U.S. District Judge Ronald Lagueux.

“To the extent that the 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 ignitions of the fireworks inside the small and crowded nightclub,” Lagueux wrote in his decision.

The lawsuit claims WHJY – a Clear Channel Radio station – is partially culpable for the disaster because it advertised the concert that night, hanging a banner outside the club inviting people to “party with WHJY,” and gave away tickets to the show.

The suit was filed on behalf of 146 survivors and the families of 80 victims. There are 46 defendants total.

The Station blaze started when a tour manager for Great White launched pyrotechnics at the beginning of the band’s show. The Derderians still face manslaughter charges and owe more than 200 creditors.