Transcript - Nightclub Fire - CNN - February 25, 2003

Nightclub Tragedies
CNN
February 25, 2003

00:00 - 04:35

Bill: The state is forever changed by the nightclub fire that killed 97. Investigators are trying to determine who is to blame. "The Station" Nightclub went up in flames on Thursday, just after the band, Great White, opened its show with a fireworks display, first song of the night. Attorney Kenneth Moll specializes in class action cases, he is now looking to whether or not legal action against the club and the band should be taken. Kenneth Moll is our guest right now, in Chicago. Sir, good morning, and thanks for your time.

Ken: Good Morning, Bill.

Bill: You believe there is clear liability in this case. Where does the liability lie?

Ken: Well, you know, we have been asked to investigate claims against not only the club owners and the band, the manager and the promoter, but the manufacturer of the sound proofing material, the contractor that elected to use that material in that place, and also, the failed inspections by the city. We have been asked by the families to conduct this investigation.

Bill: It seems to me, in your answer, you are spreading the net fairly wide. Accurate?

Ken: Well, we have been asked to investigate the claims by the victims. During this investigation no one is representing them. We believe that there is going to be limited funds available to the families and our firm is dedicated to conducting this investigation in representing them at no cost. We believe that the limited funds available should be shared equally and fairly amongst the victims, and during this investigation they go unrepresented. As of now we will conduct an investigation against all parties involved.

Bill: Now Kenneth, answer that question a bit more for me if you could. What do you hope to win for the victims?

Ken: It's not only the limited funding that may be available for them but to do a complete thorough investigation into all facts to reveal all acts of negligence in the hopes that this will not happen again.

Bill: The owners of the bar have been in many ways sparing in terms of their words with the press. We heard them over the weekend, slightly, we heard them yesterday a little bit. Listen to what one of the owners had to say about their level of cooperation with the investigators to this point.

Drederian: Well obviously we are devastated by what has happened here. We want to cooperate in any way we can, provide any information we can. We have our own internal investigation, it is ongoing. We want answers too, and at the appropriate time. We will be willing to make a full statement. Our number one concern right now is with the families that have been affected by this.

Bill: Kenneth, knowing that many times the answers have not been too forth coming based on what the investigators are telling us, how does that impact your case going forward right now with the owners?

Ken: It is clear that the owners knew pyrotechnics were being used in this establishment. They knew it was being conducted that night. The management knew when the band was setting up the pyrotechnics were being used then. So, for them to claim that they did not know pyrotechnics were being used is clearly wrong.

Bill: We are going to talk with the attorney next hour for the band. He says there was a verbal agreement, a discussion that took place earlier in the evening in which one of the bar owners of "The Station" was talking with the tour manager for Great White, and essentially, he told the bar owners what they would do onstage. Is a verbal agreement enough right now in this case?

Ken: Absolutely, there is clear and convincing evidence that the establishment and the bar owners knew that pyrotechnics were going to be used that night. The question is, who made the decision to use that type of soundproofing that is flammable instead of flame retardant? Who was it that inspected the premises and failed to see that type of material used in the establishment, and shut the place down because of a number of violations that occurred?

Bill: Quickly here, as you go forward here, what kind of time frame are you looking at right now?

Ken: There is no time frame. We were surprised that we were contacted this early by the families.

Bill: You're surprised?

Ken: We recognize that there is a time for mourning for the victims, that there should be some time where they have to deal with the situation, but then again we recognize our duty to help the victims in this investigation

Bill: Kenneth, Attorney in Chicago, we appreciate your time today.