Doctor dies after sliding down concert hall banister

Doctor dies after sliding down concert hall banister


norman lebrecht

July 30, 2015

Courtroom report:

(CN) – A doctor who tried to “ride the banister” at a Buffalo, N.Y. concert venue died because of a substance on the railings and space between the staircase and a wall, his mother claims.
Indu Verma sued Acquest Theater Place LLC, Acquest Development LLC and ESI Inc. individually and on behalf of the estate of Dr. Rajan Verma on Monday. She blames them for his post-concert death at the Tralf Music Hall in Buffalo.
Verma attended a Polica and Lolawolf concert at the venue in June 2014, according to the complaint. He “rode the banister” at the top staircase and tried to ride a second set of railings but fell near the top of a balcony due to a sticky substance on the banister, the lawsuit claims.
“Defendants improperly used a ‘sticky substance’ such as double-sided tacky tape to increase friction on the banister and deter concertgoers from sliding down it,” the complaint states. “Unfortunately, this ‘sticky substance’ caused decedent Dr. Verma to lose his center of gravity and caused him to drop in between the staircase and the wall.”


paris opera garnier

(not the Buffalo venue)

Verma was 28 years old at the time of his fall and died the next day at Buffalo General Hospital, according to the lawsuit. He was reportedly a first-year resident in internal medicine.
Verma’s estate and his mother seek $2.5 million for wrongful death. They are represented by Paul Paray in Westfield, N.J.

Full report here.


  • CDH says:

    I’m a little unsympathetic. I remember a case about a golf club, closed for the winter with prominent No Trespassing signs everywhere, but the snow was too tempting and a bunch of kids broke in and tobogganed. There were injuries and I believe a death, and there were lawsuits against the course. I was appalled when the club lost. Litigation gone mad when people who break rules and even laws, or in the case of the golf club probably by-laws, and are held utterly unaccountable for their own stupidity. A concert hall should be immune to adult professionals doing anything so egregiously stupid.

  • Jevgeniy says:

    Terribly sad, however the argument that Dr died “as a result of the tacky substance on the bannister” is pretty off-putting.

    • La Donna del Largo says:

      If I sued every time I encountered something tacky at a concert hall, I’d never get out of court.

  • Patrick says:

    Speaking of (another) Paul Paray…. Now, that was a great conductor, sadly forgotten by this generation.

    • AZ Cowboy says:

      And a darn good composer, too. I wonder if Paul Paray, Esq. is any relation?

    • Michael Hurshell says:

      Not by us Mercury Living Presence fans…

      • Christopher Bell says:

        I recall recording Paul Paray’s Joan of Arc Mass with the RSNO and RSNO Chorus conducted by James Paul and Mercury Living Presence. Each microphone seemed to have its own (valve) amplifier and the control room looked equally retro. Fun recording.

        • Brian Hughes says:

          Fabulous piece. I have the recording of the premiere (along with Saint-Saens 3) with the Detroit SO. Only decent recording to come out of old Ford Auditorium.

  • PDQ.BACH says:

    In America, a lawsuit for wrongful death.
    Elsewhere, a hot contestant for the next Darwin Award.
    One shudders to consider what a young doctor with such a reckless frame of mind would have been capable of.

    • John Borstlap says:

      Indeed. One imagines medical exams or operations – even minor ones – being executed with reckless frivolity.

  • Theodore McGuiver says:

    In the end, the only winners will be the lawyers. We live in a misguided world.

  • john smith says:

    Must agree with PDQ – perhaps the World’s a little safer!

  • MacroV says:

    A tragic death, but a child of four – and certainly a doctor of 28 – should know that you don’t slide down bannisters. He put himself completely at risk. I hope the suit gets tossed.

  • CA says:

    I wonder if the complaint will stick. Cannot fix stupid.

  • John says:

    Bet he won’t do that again!

  • William Safford says:

    Serious answer: there will be several questions associated with that sticky substance, including:

    – Was it applied intentionally by the management?
    – Did it contribute to his death? That is to say, would he have been less likely to be killed had the sticky substance not been there?
    – Was there any warning about the sticky substance?

    There are reasons why such a lawsuit may not be frivolous, even though all of us know that riding the bannister is a bad idea.

  • Dave T says:

    It’s not just the banister that’s tacky.

  • Mike says:

    Agree with PDQ.Bach above – the Darwin Award, in case some readers are unaware, credits those stupid enough to remove themselves from the gene pool, to the benefit of mankind.

  • Derek Williams says:

    Why does it always have to be someone else’s fault?

  • RW says:

    Or in Tom Lehrer’s words, ” Sliding down the razor blade of life “

  • Peter Freeman says:

    Patrick and three subsequents took the words out of my mouth. The last name is rare enough, but combined with the first it seems likely that he might be a descendant or otherwise related. I have Maestro Paray on some excellent old Mercury Living Presence LPs but sadly never heard him perform live.

    In fairness, there might be a certain measure of blamelessness amid all the above opprobrium if the unfortunate “victim” of his own folly was at all intoxicated at the time, which state does affect judgement. In that case, the intoxication itself would be the greater folly than the act, the one begetting the other.

  • Sergei says:

    In Argentina, that law claim would be totaly rejected for happend to victim exclusive fault. Argentine’s judges can be corrupt, but they aren’t stupid.