Backwoods Festival in Stroud slapped with lawsuit claiming security guards not qualified

Posted at 4:46 PM, Sep 02, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-02 17:46:56-04

In the same week as the first night of the Backwoods Music Festival kicked off, a new lawsuit involving the organizers came to light.

The lawsuit was filed in regards to the death of Patrick Murphy, which occurred in 2015 at the festival.

Organizers in Stroud say they’ve made drastic changes when it comes to security but for Murphy’s family, there's still work to be done.

Terrance Murphy, Patrick’s father, says the administrator of his estate filed suit, asking for more than $75,000 from the festival, its home Tatanka Ranch and Event Security, LLC.

“I’m glad it was filed. I don't want this to happen to anyone else,” Terrance Murphy said.

Patrick stopped breathing in 2015 when a security guard subdued him, saying his behavior had become erratic. Court documents say at least one guard involved had a past record of drugs and assault.

Petitioners also allege the festival created an open-air drug market, establishing an area where attendees could test the purity of their own drugs.

Tatanka Ranch owner Tom Russell was not aware of the lawsuit.

He says security has been overhauled this year with law enforcement. As for testing out drugs? He says drugs were confiscated, then tested for safety.

“From a moral perspective, I think it was right on because it saved many, many lives potentially, but from a legal perspective, it was questionable,” said Russell.

He says no testing is happening this year and that there's no merit to the lawsuit but Terrance Murphy thinks otherwise.

“I want justice for Patrick and I don't want this to happen to anyone else either.”