An alleged victim of last month’s deadly stampede at a GloRilla concert in western New York is formally preparing to sue over the incident, saying she suffered emotional distress and needs access to video footage, emergency plans, and other key information.
In a court filing Tuesday, attorneys for Ronisha Huston said she was the sister of Rhondesia Belton, one of three people who died in the March 5 incident at Rochester’s Main Street Armory, which police believe may have been triggered by unfounded fears of gunfire.
“Petitioner Ronisha Huston and her now deceased sister, Rhondesia Belton, got caught up in the crowd surge,” her lawyers wrote. “Huston witnessed her sister getting crushed in the stampede.”
Tuesday’s court filing came in the form of a “petition for pre-action discovery” – a maneuver under New York state law that allows a potential plaintiff to seek a court order to obtain key information that might be important to the case. In it, Huston’s attorneys said they had been retained to “pursue claims for personal injuries and infliction of emotion[al] distress” and that she has a “meritorious” case.
The filing demanded that Main Street Armory hand over a wide range of potential information, including the security firms involved, video footage of the entire concert, fire exit and emergency plans, floor plans, regulatory permits, and “communications with private entities involved with the concert.”
The Main Street Armory did not return a request for comment on the filing. No other individuals or organizations involved in the show were named in the petition.
Last month’s deadly stampede came after GloRilla had concluded the concert. According to the city officials, people exiting the venue just after 11 p.m. began to surge dangerously after hearing what they believed to be gunshots; police have found no evidence of actual gunfire.
Belton, 33, and Brandy Miller, 35, died shortly after the incident; a third women, Aisha Stephens, 35, died a few days later. Several other people were injured in the stampede. The next day, GloRilla shared on social media that she was “devastated & heartbroken” over the incident: “My fans mean the world to me 😢praying for their families & for a speedy recovery of everyone affected.”
Investigations into the incident by local police and regulatory authorities are currently underway, and Rochester has effectively shuttered the Main Street Armory by refusing to renew the venue’s entertainment license.
If history is any guide, a case filed by Huston could be the first of several against the organizers of the GloRilla concert.
The deadly crowd surge incident during a Travis Scott concert at the Astroworld music festival in 2021 has spawned hundreds of such lawsuits, albeit over a tragedy that claimed far more victims. The lawsuits, which are still pending, claim the festival’s organizers (including Scott and Live Nation) were legally negligent in how they planned and operated the event.
Other lawsuits over the Rochester stampede already appear to be in the works. The family of Aisha Stephens, one of the women killed in the stampede, has hired well-known civil rights and wrongful death lawyer Benjamin Crump, who said last month that her death was “completely preventable” and vowed to “learn what happened and hold those responsible accountable.”
Beyond the references to “personal injuries” and emotional distress, it’s unclear exactly what legal claims Huston will eventually bring and against what defendants, or when a full lawsuit will be filed. Huston’s attorney, Richard A. Nicotra, did not immediately return a request for comment on Tuesday’s filing. A label representative for Glorilla, who was not named in the filing, did not return a request for comment.