Logourl black

Passa v. Derderian

United States District Court for the District of Rhode Island
308 F. Supp. 2d 43 (D.R.I. 2004)


A fire broke out at a Rhode Island nightclub owned by Derderian (defendant) when band members ignited pyrotechnics onstage. The fire killed 100 people and injured about 200 others, including Passa (plaintiff). Victims of the fire filed tort claims in state and federal courts against a multitude of defendants, including Derderian, the band members, the band’s manager, and many others. The federal court’s jurisdiction to hear five of these cases, including Passa’s case against Derderian, was called into question. Several parties in these cases opposed the federal court asserting jurisdiction and moved to dismiss and/or remand for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. The court held that original federal jurisdiction was proper in these cases based on the Multiparty, Multiforum, Trial Jurisdiction Act of 2002 (MMTJA), which gives federal courts broader jurisdiction over cases stemming from a disaster that kills over 75 people The court held that the exception within the MMTJA requiring a federal court to abstain did not apply in these cases. The motions to dismiss or remand these cases were denied because the federal court had original jurisdiction under the MMTJA to hear these cases.

Rule of Law

The rule of law is the black letter law upon which the court rested its decision. To access this section, start your 7-day free trial of Quimbee for Law Students.


The issue section includes the dispositive legal issue in the case phrased as a question. To access this section, start your 7-day free trial of Quimbee for Law Students.

Holding and Reasoning (Lagueux, J.)

The holding and reasoning section includes:

  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

To access this section, start your 7-day free trial of Quimbee for Law Students.

Here's why 91,000 law students rely on our case briefs:

  • Reliable - written by law professors and practitioners not other law students.
  • The right length and amount of information - includes the facts, issue, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
  • Access in your class - works on your mobile and tablet.
  • 12,498 briefs - keyed to 168 casebooks.
  • Uniform format for every case brief.
  • Written in plain English - not in legalese and not just repeating the court's language.
  • Massive library of related video lessons - and practice questions.
  • Ability to tag case briefs in an outlining tool.
  • Top-notch customer support.
Start Your Free Trial Now