'Total Chaos': Fyre Festival Organizers Face Third Lawsuit

A third lawsuit has been filed against the organizers of the disastrous Fyre Festival. The complaint, obtained by Rolling Stone, alleges negligence, fraud, misrepresentation and violation of consumer protection laws in all 50 states (the latter charge filed so attendees from any state can join the suit if it is certified as a class action lawsuit).

Two festivalgoers, Matthew Herlihy and Anthony Lauriello, filed the suit in New York’s federal Second District Court Sunday. Like the previous suits, Herlihy and Lauriello’s name organizers Ja Rule and Billy McFarland as defendants, though the new suit now also names Fyre Festival’s marketing director Grant Margolin.

Herlihy and Lauriello’s complaint echoes the majority of the horror stories that emerged as Fyre Festival fell apart. The pair paid $1,027 each for tickets that included travel and luxury lodging at the event, only to arrive in the Bahamas to find the festival did not have adequate food, shelter or other basic amenities. Herlihy describes the island as “total chaos,” while Lauriello witnessed “mayhem.”

The suit claims that the plaintiffs were “not only misled and defrauded by the Defendants’ false representations of the event, but also were stuck on a remote island to fend for themselves. Defendants were aware that they were in fact ill prepared for the festival, which resulted in the horrid conditions Plaintiffs and class members had to suffer through. Defendants knowingly lured attendees with false and fraudulent pretenses, in which, the festival could not compare to.”

“Our clients’ time in the Bahamas was harrowing,” Rosemary Rivas, a lawyer for Herlihy and Lauriello, tells Rolling Stone. “What was supposed to be a few days of enjoyment and entertainment on Norman’s Cay turned out to be a miserable, chaotic and unsafe experience on a different Bahamian island in an undeveloped area. We find it remarkable that the event was not cancelled earlier in light of the lack of infrastructure and improper planning. We look forward to obtaining justice for our clients and all other attendees.”

The plaintiffs also allege that they have not received the $900 and $1,000 they deposited, respectively, onto electronic wristbands to make purchases at the festival. They are also suing for additional expenses incurred after Fyre Festival was canceled. (Lauriello notes that his headphones, jeans and sneakers were stolen because the festival did not provide any security.)

With the addition of Fyre Festival’s marketing director to the list of defendants, Herlihy and Lauriello’s lawsuit also homes in on the myriad promises touted in the festival’s promotional campaign. Fittingly, the suit makes a requisite mention of Fyre’s infamous “Instagram account close-ups of bikini-clad models, yachts, and exclusive culinary experiences.” A separate lawsuit filed in California last Tuesday suggested that the models and social media “influencers” who were paid to promote the festival – including Kendall Jenner, Bella Hadid and Emily Ratajkowski – could be liable as well.

Of the three lawsuits filed, it’s unclear which, if any, will be certified as a class action, or if individual ticket holders will have to file their own lawsuits.

Representatives for Fyre Festival did not immediately reply to a request for comment. 

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