The final Defendants to settle lawsuits over a 2003 nightclub fire that killed 100 people have agreed to pay survivors and victims’ relatives more than $250,000. Seven insurance companies and the former owner of The Station nightclub in West Warwick, Rhode Island reached the settlement. The insurance companies will pay out $262,500, and Howard Julian, accused of installing defective insulation material at the nightclub, will contribute $3,000. As reported previously, more than $176 million has been offered by the dozens of people and companies sued after the 2003 fire, which began when a pyrotechnics display from the 1980s rock band Great White set ablaze cheap packaging foam used as soundproofing around the stage.
All the settlements must be approved by the more than 300 Plaintiffs and the federal judge overseeing the case, among other conditions. A Duke University law professor has been appointed to develop a formula for how much money each of the Plaintiffs should receive. Several of the insurance companies involved in this last settlement were accused in the lawsuits of failing to thoroughly inspect the club for safety hazards before issuing insurance policies to its owners. Victims’ lawyers and prosecutors have said the club was cluttered with building and fire code violations.
The Defendants include Essex Insurance Co.; Underwriter’s at Lloyd’s, London; Surplex Underwriters Inc; V.B. Gifford & Company Inc.; Gresham & Associates of R.I. Inc; Gresham & Associates of Rhode Island Inc.; and Anchor Solutions Company Inc. They were the last Defendants to settle, excluding those already dropped from the case or expected to be dismissed by the victims’ lawyers. A judge had earlier dismissed the companies from the case, saying the companies did not owe any burden to the club’s patrons. The victims’ lawyers appealed that decision. The companies agreed to settle the matter while the appeal was pending.
Source: Associated Press
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