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Toobin: Lawsuits to follow nightclub disaster

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Jeffrey Toobin

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NEW YORK (CNN) -- Late Thursday, 95 people died in a fast-moving fire at a Rhode Island nightclub. The club's owners said Friday they were unaware that pyrotechnics which caused the fire would be used in the show. The band, Great White, said the fireworks were approved by the club's owners.

Neither had permits from the state or the city.

CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin discussed the legal aftermath of the accident.

TOOBIN: Lawsuits against both the club owners and the band are a certainty. There are a variety of theories under which either or both could be liable. But the key point to remember is that neither the club nor the band are likely to have much money to pay anything. Nor are they likely to have big insurance policies so the lawsuits could be academic.

There will be lawsuits filed. Fact finding will begin.

I'm sure law enforcement as well as private lawyers will find out who handled these pyrotechnics and whether there's any paperwork indicating they would or would not be used.

There's a lot of investigating you can do besides simply believing or disbelieving the club owner and the band members.

The contract will be one place to look but a thorough investigation would involve interviewing anyone who had anything to do with the booking or planning of Great White's appearance.

The combination of the Chicago and Rhode Island disasters will certainly remind club owners to take precautions about these kinds of disasters.

And I'm not so cynical to think that liability is the only reason. I think that club owners genuinely don't want scores of people dying in their clubs.


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