KISS - Wrongful Death Lawsuit Filed By Family Of PAUL STANLEY's Longtime Guitar Tech Moves Forward

June 22, 2024, a month ago

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KISS - Wrongful Death Lawsuit Filed By Family Of PAUL STANLEY's Longtime Guitar Tech Moves Forward

According to a new report by Rolling Stone, the family of KISS guitar tech Fran Stueber, who died after contracting Covid during the band’s End Of The Road World Tour, won a round in their wrongful death lawsuit against the band, as the band’s motion to have the case tossed was overruled in court in Los Angeles on Friday (June 21).

Catherine Stueber — whose husband Fran served as the guitar tech for Paul Stanley for decades — first filed the lawsuit along with several members of her family against Stanley, Gene Simmons and longtime KISS manager Doc McGee in October 2023, alleging negligence and wrongful death. Tour promoter Live Nation and hotel chain Marriott were named as defendants.

McGee, Simmons and Stanley challenged the complaint in a demurrer motion first filed in December 2023, arguing that the defendants and Stueber’s family had already settled the matter in 2023 through a $250,000 Worker’s Compensation settlement. 

“Plaintiffs have already been compensated. This Complaint is an improper attempt by them to ‘double dip,'” the band and McGee’s attorney Barry Mallen wrote at the time.

“Clearly it was never the intent to settle a worker’s compensation lawsuit that constituted Plaintiffs’ exclusive remedy only to then have the same parties tum around and file a civil lawsuit in Superior Court against those persons who owned and operated the KISS’ touring entity that employed Decedent,” Mallen wrote in a separate filing last week.

Stueber’s attorneys had argued that the compensation claim was settled with the KISS company itself, not with Stanley, Simmons and McGee. The company was not named as a defendant in the case.

Read the complete Rolling Stone report here

Back in 2021, Rolling Stone scribe Ethan Millman reports: It was many a roadie’s worst nightmare: On Oct. 17, 2021, 53-year-old Francis Stueber died in his hotel room, nearly 2,300 miles from home, according to KISS and his fellow backstage crew. The longtime guitar tech had been with the band for more than 20 years and was a beloved figure in the KISS Army.

Having tested positive for COVID-19, Stueber died just two days after being quarantined in a Detroit hotel room. According to the Wayne County Health Examiner’s office, the father of three died of the virus.

“We are profoundly heartbroken at the loss of Francis, he was a friend and colleague of 20 years, there is no way to replace him,” the band tells Rolling Stone in a statement. “Millions of people have lost someone special to this horrific virus and we encourage everyone to get vaccinated. Please protect yourself and your loved ones.”

But three crew members - who spoke on the condition of anonymity over fear of retaliation - say not enough was done to protect them. They place the blame for Stueber’s death squarely on tour production. The trio told Rolling Stone that the tour didn’t take strict enough safety measures, which they say sickened several tour workers and potentially cost Stueber his life.

“Every day during the shows, we weren’t tested. And there are so many unknowns,” one crew member tells Rolling Stone. “Did we superspread this, did we spread this thing from city to city? It’s horrible that Fran passed, and it’s horrible if this is our protocol just for us to tour. Is this going to be the normal, to stick someone in a hotel. and if somebody dies, ‘Oh, well, off to the next guy?’ ”

Read the full report at Rolling Stone.

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