Great White Turns To Fans For Legal Defense Help. 

05-5-03 antiGUY
Great White caught a break last week when the attorney who filed the first lawsuit related to the Station Nightclub fire in Rhode Island decided to drop Great White from the lawsuit. 

Brian Cunha, who represents 16 plaintiffs in the lawsuit, removed Great White from the lawsuit at the request of five of his clients who are friends with bandmembers. Another reason given is the fact that the band doesn’t have that much money. 

"They have no assets, so it would be a Pyrrhic victory," Cunha said. "Part of any litigation has to be driven by practicality. I could probably get a judgment against them, but it would be worth nothing. Maybe it would be symbolic, but I'm not sure that's what my clients need."

Another attorney who is representing 50 plantiffs says that he does not plan to sue the band either. However, a third attorney who filed a federal lawsuit last month says that his case against the band will go forward. 

"Anyone who is responsible should be brought into this case," said lawyer Ronald J. Rasmini. "It would be a huge transgression not to include Great White. I don't care if they've got five cents to contribute to this case. If they're negligent, they should be in there."

More lawsuits are expected, so with that in mind Great White’s attorney is calling upon fans to help raise money for the group’s legal defense. 

According to KNAC.com, Ed McPherson, the attorney who represents the band, issued the following letter to fans, asking for help: 

Dear Music Fan,

We are sure that you were shocked by the events of February 20, 2003 in West Warwick, Rhode Island, and there are no words that can express how everybody, especially Great White, feels about it. The loss of life was beyond any worst nightmare, and the suffering that ensued has affected not hundreds, but thousands of people.

As the investigations proceed, the music community appears to become one, with many people offering their support for the members of the band. The legal proceedings will in reality go on for years, which brings with it unheard of legal costs for the individual members of the band. 

It was suggested that a defense fund be set up that would assist them in covering the exorbitant costs of dealing with the ongoing criminal proceedings and the numerous lawsuits that have only just begun to be filed. 

This was a very hard working, touring band that has brought a lot of joy to fans everywhere. When the band is able to perform again, they will be donating all of the proceeds of their shows to the victims of the fire for some time. They will not be able to even come close to meeting the basic costs involved in the legal proceedings.

It is with this in mind that THE GREAT WHITE TRUST was set up. The sole purpose of this Trust is to allow friends and fans of Great White, music fans in general, and other musicians to donate to a legal fund, to at least allow the band to have proper representation so that they can defend themselves.

This Trust is not to be used for any purpose other than covering costs associated with the criminal and civil proceedings. If any funds are left after the legal costs are covered, they will be disbursed to one or more of the charities set up to benefit the victims and their families.

If you feel comfortable contributing to this fund, please send donations payable to:

c/o 17609 Ventura Boulevard
Suite 203
Encino, CA 91316

Any questions or comments may be directed to Ed McPherson at mclaw@m-klaw.com.

As McPherson alluded to in his letter, the band plans to tour in order to raise money for victims of the fire and their families. He gave more details recently when he spoke with the press at a fundraiser for the Ty Longley Foundation at the Key Club in Hollywood. (The Ty Longley Foundation is the charity set up and administered by the parents of the late Great White guitarist Ty Longley who died in the fire.)

Setting the record straight.

The Key Club benefit marked the second public performance of members of the band, when lead vocalist Jack Russell and lead guitarist Mark took the stage and performed an unplugged version of “Mothers Eyes”. The two had performed a couple of weeks previous at a benefit show for the Baby Longley Fund, at the Beverly Hills Hard Rock Café’.  (The Baby Longley Fund was set up by Longley’s girlfriend, Heidi Peralta, to raise funds for the couple’s unborn child.)

Some press outlets have erroneously reported that the Key Club benefit was the first public performance by members of the group. This error is due perhaps to the fact that members of the press were not invited to the Baby Longley Benefit and Great White’s participation was not widely publicized. 

In fact, the group’s manager took great pains to deny that Great White would perform at the Baby Longley Benefit when a few press outlets reported that members of the group would take part in the benefit show. This may be due to the fact that he helped set up the Ty Longley Foundation with Longley’s parents. According to that charity’s public statements, proceeds will go towards scholarships for aspiring musicians as well as to Longley’s unborn child.

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