Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Yolando Orozco has denied Live Nation’s motion to dismiss a lawsuit brought against them by Drakeo the Ruler’s brother, Devante Caldwell (aka Ralfy the Plug), Rolling Stone reports and The FADER can confirm. Her ruling, obtained by RS, holds that the fact that no “prior similar incedent” to Drakeo’s tragic stabbing death at the Once Upon a Time in LA Festival in December 2021 had occurred at Banc of California Stadium is not — as the global entertainment company argued — sufficient grounds to dismiss Caldwell’s claims of negligence, premises liability, and emotional distress (both negligent and intentional).
Caldwell filed his initial complaint last February, less than a month after Tianna Purtue, the mother of Drakeo’s then-five-year-old son, brought her own $60 million civil suit against Live Nation. Other defendants in the case include Once Upon a Time in LA promoters Bobby Dee Presents, Jeff Shuman, and Snoop Dog’s LLC, as well as Banc of California Stadium owners Major League Soccer and the Los Angeles Football Club.
“The ruling represents the court’s recognition of Live Nation’s and the other defendants’ role in the injustice suffered by Drakeo, his family, and friends,” Caldwell’s attorney, Jovan Blackwell, told Rolling Stone. “We are one step closer to providing justice and closure to this horrific experience.”
“We believe that the court absolutely reached the right decision with its ruling,” a representative of Blackwell’s firm added in an email to The FADER. “It acknowledges that our complaint painted a picture of conduct by these promoters that was unconscionable. Drakeo was violently taken from his family, friends, and fans forever, his friends and brother were brutally attacked, and his brother had to watch Drakeo take his last breaths. The web of people whose lives were affected by this terrible event is massive. All of this suffering was completely avoidable if these promoters prioritized our clients’ and Drakeo’s safety rather than just profits. With the complaint being upheld by the court, we are now able to move forward to proving the facts of what happened through evidence and getting justice for this tragedy that changed countless lives forever.”*
The FADER has reached out to representatives of Live Nation for further comment.
*Update [January 12, 8:50 p.m.]: A representative of Jovan Blackwell’s law offices responded to The FADER’s request for independent confirmation of and comment on today’s ruling after this article’s initial publication. The post has been updated to reflect the firm’s confirmation and comment.