FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 23, 2023
Cameron Tanko: 630.797.3324
MEYERS & FLOWERS ALLEGES APOLLO THEATRE COULD HAVE PREVENTED ROOF COLLAPSE INJURIES TO DOZENS OF CONCERTGOERS
Apollo Theatre Owners Knew Tornado Dangers and Failed to Take Safety Precautions
CHICAGO, IL - Meyers & Flowers and Clark Frost Zucchi have filed a lawsuit on behalf of Paul Rojas, who suffered severe injuries while attending a concert when a tornado struck and collapsed the roof of the century-old Apollo Theatre in Belvidere, Illinois.
On March 30, 2023, Paul was one of the approximately 260 people including fans, bands, and staff, inside the Apollo Theatre for a heavy metal rock concert when chaos erupted as the roof collapsed. While the concert was ongoing, attendees were struck by flying debris and found themselves trapped beneath piles of rubble, prompting a massive rescue operation to extract people from the wreckage. Tragically, dozens of individuals were injured, and one person lost his life.
As alleged in the lawsuit, the Apollo and its owners failed to take any precautions to ensure the safety of its guests despite numerous weather warnings throughout the day. Severe weather warnings had been issued throughout the Midwest region from the early afternoon and continued into the following morning. Regardless of the activation of tornado warnings more than 20 minutes before the tornado struck Belvidere, the Apollo failed to instruct its guests to seek shelter and allowed the concert to continue.
Apollo’s owners chose to dismiss hours of warnings in the area and made no effort to halt the concert for fear of losing out on a night of revenue. While being aware of the serious safety risks that severe weather posed to guests of the more than 100-year-old Apollo, Apollo’s staff allowed attendees to remain in the theatre, even permitting them to purchase concessions, without informing them that a tornado was barreling towards the theatre.
“We intend to discover the extent to which the Apollo disregarded essential safety measures, which resulted in severe injuries to our client and numerous other concert attendees,” said Peter J. Flowers, Partner at Meyers & Flowers. “It is important to emphasize that these injuries were not a direct consequence of the tornado itself, but rather the theatre’s failure to implement basic safety precautions despite having full knowledge of the imminent tornado threat. This prioritization of concert ticket sales over the well-being of attendees is wholly unacceptable.”
Preliminary investigations indicate that the theatre lacked an adequate safety plan and provided no emergency training for staff, despite the known vulnerability of the historic theatre to severe weather. Furthermore, the complaint alleges the venue neglected its responsibility to adequately maintain the roof to ensure that it would not collapse in the event of severe storms.
“There is no dispute that the Apollo Theatre is a historic building in our community that has hosted many significant events over the last 100 years. Simply because the Apollo is revered in our community, however, does not give its owners complete freedom to ignore basic safety measures for its guests. In this circumstance, the owners of the Apollo woefully failed its guests, including Mr. Rojas, by electing to conduct a for-profit concert as if nothing was happening outside despite the severe storm warnings that had been in effect since early that afternoon,” said Kevin Frost, Partner at Clark Frost Zucchi.
Filed today in Circuit Court of Boone County, Illinois, the lawsuit seeks to hold Apollo Theatre owners, Jesus and Maria Martinez, accountable for Paul’s severe and permanent bodily injuries. The Plaintiff is represented by Peter J. Flowers and Michael W. Lenert of Meyers & Flowers and Kevin Frost of Clark Frost Zucchi, a Rockford-based law firm.
About Meyers & Flowers
Led by Illinois Top 100 Super Lawyer and former President of the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association, Peter J. Flowers, the Meyers & Flowers’ team of experienced trial attorneys routinely take on large challenges and succeed. For more than two decades, the firm has represented clients both locally in Chicago and nationally in a full spectrum of cases involving catastrophic personal injuries, medical malpractice, workplace injuries and wrongful death.
About Clark Frost Zucchi
The personal injury attorneys of Clark Frost Zucchi are powerful, dedicated advocates for individuals and families in Rockford and throughout the Rock River Valley region. Kevin Frost is an Illinois Super Lawyer and Leading Lawyer. He has represented those involved with the Canadian National Train Derailment, the REACT Helicopter Crash and other high-profile cases. He and the firm handle all aspects of injury claims and lawsuits, including car and truck accidents, wrongful death, workers’ compensation, medical negligence, defective medical devices, dangerous or defective drugs, slip-and-fall accidents, and dog bite injuries. For more than 40 years, they have helped injury victims obtain the compensation they need and deserve.