As an expert witness regarding event safety and crowd management, Steve Adelman advocates for safe practices, regardless of whether that favors the plaintiff or defendant in a given case.  He is a staunch defender of venues and events that meet the applicable standard of care, and a tough critic of those that do not.

Industry Expertise

“Steve Adelman, a lawyer and one of the world’s leading consultants on safety, security, and risk management for live events.” NFPA Journal, July/August 2019

For more than two decades, Steve Adelman has worked closely with the operators of sports, entertainment, and corporate venues and events across North America.  Through personal experience and immersion in the event industry, he knows what constitutes reasonable conduct in the production and operation of live events in brick and mortar venues and on green fields.  He studies and teaches the codes, standards, and “best practices” literature regarding event safety and security, and he led the groups that created the authoritative standards for crowd management in the United States, ANSI ES1.9-2020, and for event security, ANSI ES1.40-2023.

Steve Adelman creates event plans to mitigate risks to the safety, security, and health of guests, workers, and artists.  He analyzes other people’s plans to see how they function with real people.  His entire practice focuses on the risk and safety issues that arise during the planning, training, and implementation of live events.

Tenacious Advocacy for the Standard of Care

A good expert will understand the litigation process and their role in it.  As an attorney himself, Steve Adelman can read between the lines of discovery and help counsel obtain materials to support a strong standard of care analysis.  Then he advocates not for one side (that’s counsel’s job), but for the standard of care and its application to the facts at issue.

Steve Adelman’s expert reports carefully cite the factual record, then apply that record to authoritative industry sources in order to reach a defensible conclusion.  And because he has taken countless depositions and spent considerable time explaining event safety to law students and other audiences, Steve Adelman is comfortable as a “teaching witness,” telling the story of the case in terms that ordinary people will understand and remember.

Steve Adelman’s expert engagements regarding event safety and crowd management include some of the most high profile and tragic incidents in recent history, including the 2011 Indiana State Fair stage roof collapse and the 2017 Route 91 Harvest Festival shooting in Las Vegas.  He has been engaged as an expert witness in more than twenty-five states and in three Canadian provinces.  One thing Steve dislikes more than a rush to judgment is people getting hurt or killed at an event.

Testimonials by Counsel

“Steve Adelman is easily one of the best experts I’ve worked with in any industry. His familiarity with both the practical applications of event management safety and the body of literature behind it helped me hone a particularly challenging case involving defenses of trespass and intoxication for trial. Above all, he has always been honest with me about what is and isn’t appropriate under the circumstances for any given case we have discussed. Also, his deposition was probably the first time I ever saw someone enjoy answering questions for four hours, but given his passion for his work it wasn’t terribly surprising.”  Bruno M., Chicago, IL

“At the time my firm retained Steve Adelman to serve as our expert for a series of crowd crush lawsuits arising out of a complex event that involved over 60,000 attendees, I lacked all familiarity with event safety or crowd management. Steve served a dual role, both as our expert throughout the case and as our professor in the field of event safety and crowd management. He personally taught me the terminology and how it applied to our case, gave me books and articles to ensure I had more context to understand the issues and adequately defend my cases. He helped me with discovery, in order to obtain the evidence he needed to formulate his opinions. Even further, he helped me prepare for my clients’ depositions and well as the Plaintiffs.’ As a relatively young lawyer, I appreciated his thorough understanding of the litigation process and the role of a standard of care expert.  Because Steve had been a litigator himself, he proactively helped me develop our case and put us in a better position to get a favorable result for our client.” Maria C., Miami, FL

“Steve Adelman is a classic ‘teaching expert.’  When I asked him a question at trial, he turned to face the jury, explained the significance of the question for our case, then applied his standard of care analysis in words that they would understand and remember.  Steve helped give our arguments a storyteller’s interest and coherence.  His testimony contributed to us reaching a favorable settlement before the jury returned a verdict.”  Steve B., Tacoma, WA

Photo Credit: Bottom image Shot by Blake Rupert, March 2020