E2 Settlement

The owners of Chicago’s E2 nightclub – where 21 people died during a crowd crush in 2003 – have agreed to pay $1.5 million to settle dozens of lawsuits brought by victims and their families.

The agreement by now-bankrupt club owner Dwain Kyles and business partner Calvin Hollins Jr. would settle 21 wrongful death and 95 injury claims, according to Robert Phillips, an attorney representing more than 100 plaintiffs.

The agreement still requires a judge’s approval.

Dozens of people were crushed in a narrow stairwell at E2 February 17, 2003, after pepper spray was used to break up a fight on the dance floor, sending club-goers into a panic.

Cook County Judge Kathy Flanagan said she would review the agreement. The next hearing in the case is scheduled for March 8th.

Kyles, Hollins, party promoter Marco Flores and Hollins’ son, Calvin Hollins III, a club manager, also face criminal charges in the stampede.

The grand jury indictment said the owners willfully packed the club with about 1,200 people that night – roughly five times its capacity of 240. They have pleaded innocent to involuntary manslaughter.

Clear Channel Communications was named as a defendant. Plaintiffs’ attorneys said the company was responsible for a disc jockey at the club who allegedly incited security guards to use pepper spray to break up the quarrel, according to the Chicago Tribune.

The city of Chicago also has been sued for allegedly failing to ensure the nightclub was safe.