Punk Riot Spawns Suits

The first of at least three lawsuits resulting from a riot nearly two years ago at the National Orange Show Events Center in San Bernardino, Calif., goes to trial April 21st.

A Corona, Calif., man and his girlfriend hit court first as a result of a melee during the British Invasion 2K6 punk festival at the venue March 5, 2006, according to the San Bernardino Sun. They are suing the Events Center, concert promoter Ezzat Soliman, security company Blackhawk Protection and its owner, Joseph Ganino, for injuries sustained during the event.

Attorney Marshal Rosenbach told the paper that the couple suffered physical and emotional harm because the defendants allegedly provided poor security and misinformed police as to the expected size of the crowd.

"Our contention is they should have known this would be a violent crowd and they should have prepared for it," Rosenbach told the Sun.

Another suit expected to go to trial later this year is a civil case filed by Aamco Insurance Co., the insurer of three local businesses damaged in the riot, seeking damages greater than $25,000.

The company accuses the same defendants of pushing attendance to more than 6,000, exceeding what the facility and hired security could be expected to handle, resulting in $342,425 in damages to its clients’ businesses.

In the meantime, a third suit was filed by former National Orange Show GM Brad Randall alleging racial discrimination and unlawful termination in the riot’s wake.

Randall was fired four months after the riot, according to the Sun.

Tying up that case is a challenge to San Bernardino Superior Court Judge Robert Fawke’s ability to preside over the trial. The judge has reportedly admitted business ties to some Events Center board directors.