Two days after a lawsuit was filed against Everclear by a woman who was badly hurt at a recent concert, the band's manager is
refuting claims that group incited the stage-diving that lead to her injuries.
"In the suit, she claims that we invited [footballs players Drew] Bledsoe and [Max] Lane on the stage," said band manager Darren
Lewis, referring to Tameeeka Messier's claims against Everclear singer Art Alexakis, bassist Craig Montoya and drummer Greg
Eklund. "That's not true. If they were invited onstage, it was by security or someone at the Paradise."
What started out as a night of rock 'n' roll for Boston University cafeteria worker Messier and New England Patriots star quarterback
Drew Bledsoe and offensive guard Max Lane on Nov. 13 ended with neck surgery for Messier, the 34-day suspension of the
entertainment license of the Paradise club and a negligence lawsuit against the band, the players and the nightclub.
Messier, 23, filed the suit against Everclear, Bledsoe, Lane and the Paradise in Suffolk County Superior Court on Wednesday. The
suit alleges that Everclear and the Paradise allowed the burly football players onstage and then encouraged them to dive into the
crowd, resulting in Lane allegedly landing on her head and rupturing two discs in her neck.
Messier's suit also claims that Bledsoe, Lane and backup quarterback Scott
Zolak were among the 639 patrons at the Paradise on Nov. 13 to see
Everclear. Near the end of Everclear's show, Lane allegedly pressured a
security guard identified only as McKenna to let him on the stage, but
McKenna refused, saying it was forbidden by club policy, according to the suit. The lawsuit then charges that Lane told McKenna
about betting Bledsoe that he could get onstage with the band. McKenna then asked singer Alexakis, who agreed to let Lane on the
stage, according to the suit.
"That just isn't true," Lewis said. "From what I know, they were playing
their final song of the night and the guys came onstage. [Messier] claims that
there was some conversation with Art [Alexakis], but that didn't happen."
Lewis said he was unsure if the players climbed on the stage or walked on from the side, but added that he was certain that Everclear
had nothing to do with subsequent stage-dives. "They finished their set and walked off the stage," he said, disputing the suit's assertion
that Alexakis encouraged Bledsoe to jump into the crowd, announcing "Drew is going to stage-dive now."
"The band was back in their dressing room when all that happened," Lewis
said. "They didn't see it happen, but our road manager did and did what he
could to help her."
Meanwhile, a spokeswoman for the Paradise said the venue plans to fight the decision to suspend their entertainment license as a result
of the gig. "The Paradise Club disagrees with the findings of the Mayor's Office of Consumer Affairs and Licensing and will appeal
the decision," Thaleia Schlesinger said in a statement released by the club on Friday.
The 34-day suspension, according to Nancy Lo, of the Mayor's Office of Consumer Affairs and Licensing, is based on the
department's claims that the club had allowed too many concert-goers into the Everclear show and had allegedly permitted Bledsoe
and Lane dive from the stage. The ruling prevents the club from holding any shows or musical events for 30 days beginning Dec. 17,
with another four days tacked on for previous violations.
An appeal on the decision is to be filed in Suffolk County Superior Court in the coming days, Schlesinger said, adding that the speed
of the filing "all depends on how long it takes to get the paperwork together." Meanwhile, the concerts scheduled to take place during
the club's suspension will be either rescheduled or moved to a different venue, Schlesinger said.
Messier's suit, which names the band's regular members as defendants but not touring guitarist Steven Birch, fails to specify the
amount of money the complainant is seeking.
It does, however, claim Messier lacks health insurance, has thus far paid all medical bills out of her own pocket and should be
compensated for her injuries. "Basically, it's the lawyers looking for the most money," Lewis said. [Sat., Dec. 13, 1997, 9 a.m. PST]