Third lawsuit filed in fatal shooting at Oakdale in Wallingford in 2016

Third lawsuit filed in fatal shooting at Oakdale in Wallingford in 2016

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WALLINGFORD —  A third lawsuit has been filed against the Oakdale Theatre in connection with a 2016 shooting outside the venue that killed two men and wounded two others. 

An attorney representing Dylan Thomas, a New Haven man wounded on the night of Dec. 30, 2016, filed suit in Waterbury Superior Court on Wednesday, claiming the Oakdale was “negligent” by failing to provide adequate security. 

Thomas suffered a gunshot wound to the right leg. Travis Ward, 31, and Jacquan Graves, 20, both of New Haven, were killed. Nathan Mitchell, of Hartford, was also wounded. 

The shooting occurred following Meek Mill's concert. “Armed assailant(s) who had attended the Meek Mill concert discharged firearm(s)” at the victims,” according to the lawsuit filed by Thomas. 

 In May, lawyers representing the families of Ward and Mitchell filed a similar lawsuit against the Oakdale, 95 S. Turnpike Road.  The family of Graves filed a lawsuit on Nov. 28. 

None of the victims were armed at the time, according to the lawsuits. 

All three lawsuits claim the Oakdale failed to “take reasonable measures to protect patrons” and allowed “dangerous individuals to remain on the premises after exhibiting disorderly” behavior toward patrons. 

Live Nation, which owns the Oakdale, could not be reached for comment Friday.  

According to police, the Oakdale tried to hire extra duty officers three hours before the concert, but none were available on short notice on a holiday weekend. The theater did not normally hire officers for events, according to police.

The three lawsuits also name rapper Meek Mill, whose legal name is Robert Rihmeek Williams, as a defendant.  

The lawsuits by Ward, Graves and Mitchell cite lyrics from Meek Mill’s music, arguing the songs encourage violence and use of firearms.   

The lawsuits also argue that because of past incidents at Meek Mill concerts, the Oakdale should have taken more security measures. Four people were shot at a Meek Mill concert in 2013 in Wilmington, Delaware, according to media reports.

At a 2011 Meek Mill concert in Danbury, four people were arrested for disorderly conduct and two people were hospitalized for minor injuries. 

Attorneys representing Meek Mill objected to use of the word, “thug,” in the two lawsuits filed last year. The suits referred to the assailant(s) as “thugs,” which Meek Mill’s attorneys argued was “racially-charged” and “should be deleted as it is improper and scandalous.”

Meek Mill was sentenced in November to two to four years in prison for violating probation on a gun and drug case that is nearly a decade old. He unsuccessfully appealed the decision.


Twitter: @MatthewZabierek


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