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RI Judge Approves $176 Million Settlement to Survivors and Victims' Families in 2003 Nightclub Fire

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A Rhode Island judge recently approved a $176 million settlement for the survivors of a deadly nightclub fire in 2003, as well as for the families of the 100 people who died as a result of the fire. The judge also approved a formula to distribute the money to the survivors and relatives of those who were killed. Specifically, the survivors who were most severely injured will receive the largest shares, and children whose parents were killed will also be compensated.

The February 20, 2003 fire happened at The Station nightclub in West Warwick, RI when a pyrotechnics display used at a concert by the rock group Great White set fire to the soundproofing foam surrounding the stage. In addition to the injuries directly attributable to the fire, the calamity also caused concert attendees to panick and stampede toward the doors of the club. 200 people were trampled and injured.

Dozens of people and companies were sued after the fire, including the foam manufacturers, the club’s owners, Anheuser-Busch, Clear Channel Broadcasting, and the town of West Warwick. Separate criminal charges were also filed against the club’s owners, who pleaded no contest to 100 counts of involuntary manslaughter, admitting that they installed the flammable foam on the stage. Great White’s tour manager also pled guilty to involuntary manslaughter charges, admitting that he lit the pyrotechnics without a permit.