Live Nation says that fatal backstage stabbing of rapper Drakeo the Ruler was 'unforseeable'

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In this March 2021 photo provided by Scott Jawson, West Coast rapper Drakeo the Ruler is seen outside a recording studio in Los Angeles. Drakeo the Ruler, whose real name was Darrell Caldwell, was fatally stabbed in an altercation at a Los Angeles music festival Saturday, Dec. 18, 2021. His publicist confirmed the death to the New York Times. The 28-year-old was assaulted at the Once Upon a Time in LA concert Saturday night. (Wyatt Winfrey/Courtesy of Scott Jawson via AP)
The late rapper Drakeo the Ruler. (Wyatt Winfrey / Associated Press)

In a new court filing, concert promotion giant Live Nation contends that it cannot be found liable in the fatal stabbing of L.A. rapper Drakeo the Ruler at the Once Upon a Time in L.A. festival in December.

The filing, made public on Tuesday, came in response to a wrongful death lawsuit in Los Angeles County Superior Court filed by Drakeo’s brother, Devante Caldwell, alongside suits from Drakeo’s mother, Darrylene Corniel, and his son, Caiden Caldwell.

Drakeo, born Darrell Caldwell, was attacked by a group of men and stabbed backstage at the Live Nation-produced festival at the Banc of California Stadium, headlined by Snoop Dogg, 50 Cent and YG.

Drakeo, 28, died from his wounds later that night. There have been no arrests in the case.

The February suit from Drakeo’s brother alleges that Live Nation’s hired security was negligent and insufficient to protect Drakeo from easily forseeable threats, given the festival’s location in an area “rife with gang activity” that “boasts one of the highest rates of violent crimes in the city.”

Live Nation, in its filing, sought to dismiss the suits, claiming that the attack was "unforseeable" and that the company had no prior reason to anticipate risks to Drakeo’s safety at the venue.

“Case law does not support the logic between imputing liability for prior similar incidents based on alleged conduct that occurred in the city surrounding the subject premises,” attorneys for the promoter claimed. “Mere allegations of gang activity and associated general safety concerns in South Central Los Angeles should not be considered in determining foreseeability of the subject incident.”

The filing also claims that there’s no evidence Drakeo's team had asked for extra security, or that he was “disallowed” from bringing additional security, as Devante Caldwell’s suit claimed.

A representative for Devante Caldwell did not immediately return requests for comment on Live Nation's filing. A hearing to set a trial date for the suits, which are likely to be consolidated, is scheduled for Sept. 20.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.