A class action lawsuit has been filed against Fyre Festival and its organizers. The suit, which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California on Sunday by Daniel Jung and which names both Ja Rule and Billy McFarland as defendants, alleges that “festival’s lack of adequate food, water, shelter, and medical care created a dangerous and panicked situation among attendees—suddenly finding themselves stranded on a remote island without basic provisions—that was closer to ‘The Hunger Games’ or ‘Lord of the Flies’ than Coachella.”
In his suit, which asserts claims of fraud, breach of contract, breach of covenant of good faith, and negligent misrepresentation, Jung, who spent $2,000 on his Fyre Festival ticket and airfare, claims: “Festival-goers survived on bare rations, little more than bread and a slice of cheese, and tried to escape the elements in the only shelter provided by Defendants: small clusters of ‘FEMA tents,’ exposed on a sand bar, that were soaked and battered by wind and rain.”
In particular, Jung’s complaint notes: “With only unsecured tents as accommodations, rather than the promised villas, attendees had no secure area to store valuables and other personal items. Similarly, the ‘world-class cuisine’ was nowhere to be found, replaced by meager rations that were in dangerously short supply. Even more troublingly, festival staff were nowhere to be found to address attendees’ concerns, and the medical staff was similarly absent.”
The lawsuit goes on to assert, “Faced with the complete lack of even the most basic amenities, as well as no assistance from Defendants, festival attendees began to panic. Predictably, Attendees began attempting to leave the island en masse, but found themselves trapped—even locked inside an airport awaiting delayed flights.”
Still yet, “Attendees’ efforts to escape the unfolding disaster were hamstrung by their reliance upon Defendants for transportation, as well as by the fact that Defendants promoted the festival as a ‘cashless’ event—Defendants instructed attendees to upload funds to a wristband for use at the festival rather than bringing any cash. As such, Attendees were unable to purchase basic transportation on local taxis or busses, which accept only cash. As a result … at least one attendee suffered a medical emergency and lost consciousness after being locked inside a nearby building with other concert-goers waiting to be airlifted from the island.”
In addition to seeking class action certification – which would enable other festival-goers to join in the suit and share in the settlement amount – Jung is seeking damages of upwards of $100 million. The suit claims that the class of plaintiffs consists of “more than a one hundred and fifty (150) members.”
If reports are true, it may prove difficult to garner any money from the Festival’s organizers, who allegely did not have enough money to pay the performers. Hence, the mass cancellations.
According to a statement provided to TFL from Jung’s counsel Ben Meiselas of Geragos & Geragos, APC: “Fyre Festival and it’s promoters recklessly stranded thousands of consumers in a festival of horror, and cost them thousands of dollars on travel, lodging and time off from work. Through this Federal Class Action will make sure to hold Fyre — and all those who recklessly and blindly promoted the festival — accountable to make sure all consumers receive not only a ticket refund but also 100 percent reimbursement for travel, lodging, time off from work, and any other incidental and consequential damages.”
From the sounds of things, the models paid to promote the festival – “including Kendall Jenner, Bella Hadid, and Emily Ratajkowski,” who were specifically called out in the complaint as being hired “to use social media to generate ticket sales” – might end up on the hook here. Although, they were not named in Jung’s initial complaint.
Given the undisclosed nature of the influencers’ Fyre Fest social media posts, the Federal Trade Commission could very well get involved, as well, but that would come by way of a different (administrative) proceeding and not serve to compensate the plaintiffs. More to come …
* The case is DANIEL JUNG, individually and as the representative of a class of similarly-situated persons; v. BILLY MCFARLAND, an individual; JEFFREY ATKINS p/k/a JA RULE, an individual; FYRE MEDIA, INC., Case 2:17-cv-03245 (C.D. Cal).