This was bound to happen.
The family of a 15-year-old girl who died after attending a rave on ecstasy has filed a $5 million claim against the city and county of Los Angeles. June's Electric Daisy Carnival was held at the publicly owned Los Angeles Coliseum, which is run jointly by the city, county and state.
Copies of the claims were distributed to media over the holiday weekend, just as the annual Together As One rave at a sister venue, the L.A. Sports Arena, was underway.
Both properties are run by the public Coliseum Commission, which has voted to allow raves to go on at the venues despite Sasha Rodriguez's death and evidence that about one ecstasy related death per year happens at megaraves held at both places.
As we reported, the commission has allowed raves to happen despite evidence of consistent drug-related hospitalizations and deaths. Some commissioners have argued that they know young people do drugs at the events but that they're safer under the watchful eye of police and medical personnel at the Coliseum and Convention Center than they would be at "underground" parties.
We reported, however, that reports of deaths and hospitalizations stemming from smaller events are rare and that the large happenings seem to attract a rare level of gung-ho partying.
The suit claims that the Coliseum and Sports Arena make about 28 percent of their annual revenue from the four-times-a-year parties.
According to an attachment to the claim:
"[The Coliseum Commission] knew, or should have known, that the Rave would attract, promote, encourage, facilitate and enable wide-spread illegal and illicit activity including, but not limited to, the possession, sale and consumption of illicit drugs including, but not limited to 3, 4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine ["MDMA" or "Ecstasy"] and alcohol which endangered the health, safety and well-being of all persons attending the Rave.
"LAMCC knew, or should have known, that the Rave would attract minors under the age of majority and recognized that a minimum age attendance requirement was necessary, yet it failed to enforce such minimum age attendance requirement."
Electric Daisy Carnival, a two-day rave June 25 and 26, attracted 160,000 revelers and was the source of 226 medical emergencies and 60 mostly drug-related arrests. It was supposed to be 16-and-up, but a source told the Weekly ID's weren't checked.
Political uproar followed Rodriguez's subsequent death-by-ecstasy, and the commission made a faux move, shutting down parties in theory, but letting ones that already had contracts go forward. That effectively meant that will the body got headlines stating it had stopped raves, it really had not.
Then, in November, the commission voted to allow the parties to happen, but with caveats that included a strict 18-and-older policy, more security and more medical personnel.
Interestingly, we received at least one report of IDs not being checked at Friday's TAO event, despite the new rules. A party-goer posted on a rave site that the venue's lines got so long that personnel stopped checking IDs.
The claim contends that the commission should have known long before Rodriguez's death that underage people were getting in and causing some havoc. After all, the parties had been happening at the Coliseum and Sports arena, with previous deaths and hospitalizations on the record, for 15 years (with 41 events on the books).
The attachments states that EDC:
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" ... Attracted, promoted, encouraged, facilitated and enabled wide-spread and illegal activity including, but not limited to, the possession, sale and consumption of illicit drugs and alcohol which endangered the health, safety and well-being of all attendees."
Together As One saw 17 hospitalizations, 62 medical emergencies and 25 arrests. Last year's TAO saw 18 hospitalizations, mostly for drug overdoses.
The claim, if denied, could be a prelude to a lawsuit.
Interestingly, the promoter of EDC (and co-promoter of TAO), Insomniac Events (whose slogan is "Wide Awake Since 1993"), has filed a claim against the city of L.A. because it canceled a scheduled Halloween rave at the L.A. Convention Center following the EDC fallout.