Rap Fans File Suit

A group of Florida concertgoers has filed suit against the rapper Plies, a record label and a Gainesville nightclub following a 2006 concert incident during which shots were fired into a crowded club.

The suit seeks $10 million from Plies (real name Algernod Lanier Washington), Slip-N-Slide Records and the 238 West nightclub, among others, according to court documents obtained by the Gainesville Sun.

During a sold-out performance at the 238 West on July 2, 2006, the artist’s mic was reportedly cut off after his set ran long. When a fight broke out and shots were fired, five men were shot – including one in the stomach and another in the neck, according to police reports.

Four men were arrested following the shooting, police said, including Washington and members of the rapper’s entourage charged with firing the shots.

Washington pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor concealed weapon charge, while members of his entourage were charged with felonies including possession of a concealed weapon, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, shooting into an occupied building and attempted second degree murder with a firearm, according to court documents.

Attorney for the concertgoers, Christopher Chestnut, told the Gainesville Sun that the men had suffered not only physical but psychological injuries the night of the incident, and some of them lost their jobs while recovering.

"The smallest things like July fourth firecrackers or a random person walking by or an unrecognized car can cause havoc and fear in a client after being shot," Chestnut said.

However, Plies attorney Robert Rush told the paper that while he had not seen the lawsuit, the concertgoers may be headed in the wrong direction.

"If they’re suing Mr. Washington, they’re suing the wrong person," Rush said. "He does not have legal liability. It is not an entertainer’s job to provide security for a club where the entertainer is performing."

Chestnut confirmed the suit doesn’t hold the artist responsible for security at the club.

"We understand that he’s not responsible for staffing, but he’s absolutely responsible for his staff or those who act as such," he told the Sun.