The family of a Kiss guitar tech who died while quarantining in 2021 after contracting Covid during the band’s End of the Road World Tour is suing for wrongful death, according to a lawsuit reviewed by Rolling Stone.
Catherine Stueber, whose husband Fran had served as guitar tech for Paul Stanley for decades, filed the suit in Los Angeles on Wednesday along with several members of her family, claiming both negligence and wrongful death. Kiss founding members Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley, their longtime manager Doc McGhee, the tour’s promoter Live Nation, and hotel chain Marriott International were all named as defendants.
“As a direct and proximate result of the dangerous condition created by Defendants,” the suit said, “Decedent suffered fatal injuries and Plaintiffs suffered damages, including, but not limited to funeral and burial expenses, the permanent deprivation of the love companionship, affection solace, society, comfort, assistance, services and financial contributions, and moral support of Decedent in an amount according to proof at trial.
Reps for the band, Live Nation, and Marriott didn’t immediately respond to request for comment.
The suit comes nearly two years after a Rolling Stone investigation detailed claims from several Kiss roadies who said that allegedly lax Covid protocols contributed to Stueber’s death. Several of those allegations from the story are included in the filing. The roadies said that the band didn’t regularly test the crew and that several crew workers fell ill with the virus before Stueber died.
“I couldn’t believe how unsafe it was, and that we were still going,” one roadie told Rolling Stone at the time. “We’d been frustrated for weeks, and by the time Fran died, I just thought, ‘You have to be fucking kidding me.’”
The band however, refuted to Rolling Stone that the tour used safety protocols “that met, but most often exceeded, federal, state, and local guidelines. But ultimately this is still a global pandemic and there is simply no foolproof way to tour without some element of risk.”
Further, the band said at the time that some crew members hid when they were sick rather than coming forward to test, and that some crew members provided fake vaccine cards. “We are now aware there were crew members who attempted to conceal signs of illness, and when it was discovered, refused medical attention… Furthermore, it has recently been brought to our attention that certain crew members may have provided fake vaccination cards which, if true, we find morally reprehensible (as well as illegal), putting the entire tour in harm’s way.”
In the suit, Stueber’s family claims that “the failure to enforce or have adequate Covid-19 policies or procedures caused a Covid-19 outbreak amongst band members and tour personnel.” Stueber was “abandoned in Detroit” at the Four Points Hotel By Sheraton to quarantine after he tested positive for Covid, according to the suit. The suit further alleges that Stueber reached out to McGhee as he began to get sicker. McGhee, per the suit, told Stueber that he would send medical personnel to check in on him.
McGhee sent another crew member to check in on Stueber, the suit said, and by the time the crew worker got to Stueber’s hotel, he couldn’t get in contact with him. The crew worker allegedly called the police, who entered Stueber’s hotel room and found him unresponsive. He died after quarantining for two days, the suit said.
“Upon information and belief, Doc never arranged for a medical professional to examine Decedent, despite promising Decedent he would,” the suit said.
Stueber’s family members are seeking unspecified special damages, as well as damages tied to past, present and/or future wage loss, income, and support and medical expenses.
“Defendants, and each of them, whether through acts and/or omission to act, breached their duty to Plaintiffs by their negligent production, operation, inspection, supervision, management and control over The End of the Road Tour that ultimately resulted in the death of Decedent,” the suit said.
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