GREAT WHITE: Lawyers In Nightclub Fire Case Want Foam Testing To Proceed

The Associated Press has issued the following report:

The legal battle over soundproofing foam blamed in a deadly nightclub fire resumed Friday with lawyers for the families of fire victims renewing their request to test the foam recovered from the club's wreckage.

Pyrotechnics lit during a February 2003 performance by the heavy metal band GREAT WHITE ignited the flammable foam on the walls of The Station nightclub in West Warwick. One hundred people were killed and more than 200 injured in the resulting fire.

Lawyers representing the families of fire victims and survivors sued dozens of defendants, including several foam manufacturers.

They sought and won a court order allowing them to test the foam recovered from the fire scene and compare it to samples provided by the companies to determine which one made the foam used in the club.

The testing was scheduled to begin in October, but one of the companies named in the lawsuits, Foamex International, has since declared bankruptcy and demanded that the proceedings by halted.

An emergency motion filed Friday (Sept. 30) in federal court by the families asks Magistrate Judge David Martin to force Foamex to comply with the testing order.

Max Wistow, one of the plaintiffs' lawyers, said the Foamex bankruptcy proceedings should not derail the testing.

James Ruggieri, a lawyer for Foamex, did not immediately return a call for comment on Friday.

In a separate criminal case, nightclub owners Jeffrey and Michael Derderian and the former tour manager for GREAT WHITE, Dan Biechele, are each charged with 200 counts of involuntary manslaughter. All three men have pleaded innocent.

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