Teen sues over crowd-surfing injury

Concertgoer alleges concussion he got at bar show has left him with double vision

nwilson@thetribunenews.comSeptember 21, 2011 

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated which high school Robert Freeborn attended. He went to Templeton High School, not San Luis Obispo High School.

A male singer from a Long Beach punk rock band crashed into a teenage audience member while crowd-surfing in a San Luis Obispo bar last year, leaving the teen with permanent double vision, a lawsuit alleges.

Chuck Green, a vocalist in the group Pour Habit, slammed into 18-year-old Robert Freeborn, pushing his face into a speaker monitor, according to a lawsuit filed Sept. 9 in San Luis Obispo Superior Court.

Crowd-surfing involves audience members hoisting someone, often a band member, over their heads and pushing that person along with their hands.

The alleged incident took place at a Pour Habit concert July 21, 2010, at what was then Downtown Brewing Co. at 1119 Garden St. in San Luis Obispo. The bar is now called SLO Brew.

The incident happened as audience members attempted to thrust Green back onto the stage after he surfed the crowd, according to Mark Boswell, Freeborn’s lawyer.

Freeborn claims he was standing near the front of the stage paying close attention to the musical performance when he was struck in the back of the head by Green.

Green weighed more than 200 pounds, and Freeborn suffered a concussion and facial fracture and now has the permanent condition of diplopia, or double vision, according to Boswell.

Freeborn wasn’t a willing participant in Green’s “crowd-surfing antics,” the teen’s lawyer said.

The lawsuit names the band, its managers, SLO Pub LLC and landlord WestPac Investments Inc. The lawsuit complaint represents only the plaintiff’s side of the story.

Attempts to reach the band’s management team Wednesday for comment were unsuccessful.

According to his lawyer, Freeborn had a 4.65 grade-point average at Templeton High School, which he was attending at the time of the incident. He is now attending Cal Poly as a biochemistry major.

He had thoughts of becoming a doctor, biomedical researcher or Air Force pilot.

But Freeborn’s ability to perform tasks in those fields is affected by his impairment, and his earning capacity will be diminished, his lawyer claims.

Boswell said his client was a minor when he attended the concert, which was open to people of all ages. His client doesn’t drink alcohol and wasn’t drinking at the concert, Boswell said.

Freeborn can see clearly ahead, but his vision is blurred when he looks upward and downward, making it difficult to perform certain tasks, including reading, Boswell said.

The Tribune is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service