A New York appeals court has ruled that the mother of a woman who was severely injured at a music festival and later died can discover ticket sales records and compel the defendants, who are represented by the same legal counsel, to address conflicts of interest.
An Appellate Division, Third Department, panel decided that the festival, known as Camp Bisco, and other named defendants—including promoters, owners of up-state grounds where the festival was held, and those in charge of coordinating festival medical transportation—must hand over sales records because they are “clearly material and relevant to plaintiff’s claim.”
Justice Michael Lynch, writing for the panel in Bynum v. Camp Bisco, 523754, further ruled on June 22 that the defendants must provide written statements addressing potential conflicts in response to plaintiff’s motion to disqualify counsel.
The suit, filed by the injured woman, Heather Bynum, alleges the defendants acted negligently by failing to provide sufficient emergency medical services at the 2012 festival. Bynum, who passed away during the appeal pendency, had ingested a harmful substance at the festival.
Lynch affirmed portions of a 2016 order by Schenectady Supreme Court Justice Vincent Versaci. They wrote the premise for plaintiff’s claim is that defendants misrepresented attendance to permitting authorities. He also said written statements by defendants on potential conflicts were proper because it assured compliance with Rules of Professional Conduct.
Matthew Kelly, a Roemer Wallens Gold & Mineaux partner representing the defendants, said he was confident they would ultimately prevail.
“I think the difficulty with the [written statements] decision is that it allows parties to strategically attempt to create conflict where none exists, and I don’t think the court should sanction that kind of gamesmanship,” he said.
Paul Wein of LaFave, Wein & Frament, who represented Deborah Bynum, said he was pleased with the decision.”Now we can conduct depositions based on actual ticket sales and question them how they managed to petition for approval for a festival that had 12,000 people when they in fact sold 25,000 tickets,” he said.