Thursday, January 20, 2011

Stupid DJ Tricks: Part 14

My two least favorite genres of Stupid DJ tricks are fake contests and fake celebrities. Firstly they are numerous, which both makes them pathetic, but also it makes the catastrophes foreseeable. But we're talking about DJs here not normal human beings who are able to learn things. In that regard they are like small poorly trained yippy dogs. But, yippy little dogs rarely get sued.
In the year 2000 Susan Santodonato, wife of Paul Santodonato died during a promotional event staged by WMRV in Binghamton, New York. She hit her head on a garage door a during a human stampede and died from the injuries she sustained. Susan fell and hit her head in a crowd of about 100 people chasing a limo that was supposed to to have Britney Spears riding in it.  But the limo did not have Britney Spears riding in it. The blond in the limo was a celebrity impersonator hired by Clear channel for a hoax by WMRV.

As a part of the hoax, the station aired a pre-recorded interview that was made by splicing together pre-recorded answers with live questions. The station made every indication that it was live and that Britney herself was live in the studio at WMRV. The impersonator arrived at WMRV by limo with staffers wearing Britney Spears record label: Jive Records. As they had hoped, this attracted a large crowd. I'll quote the case file on the particulars
"Decedent and her 10-year-old daughter were among those present. At some point during the interview, the limousine moved from the front of the station to a side entrance, causing the crowd to shift in that direction. It was at that time that decedent fell to the ground and sustained a head injury."
Interestingly the legal liability of WMRV wasn't exacerbated much by by the Britney Spears impersonator. The real Britney would have generated the exact same situation.  It's a question of negligence. Paul Santodonato accused WMRV of inadequate crowd control. In 2006 a New York circuit Appellate court dismissed his $1.2 billion lawsuit.  The ruling is here.

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