'Rock of Love' producers forced to pay $21 mil to settle lawsuits

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'Rock of Love' producers forced to pay $21 mil to settle lawsuits

Fri Oct 23, 2009 @ 12:35PM PST

By Eriq Gardner

Rock-of-love VH-1's reality hit "Rock of Love" has become a very expensive show.

In the last month, producers have paid out more than $21 million to settle personal injury claims stemming from a driver for the show who had fallen asleep on the road and crashed the "Rock of Love Bus." The crash led to the death of a Southern Illinois University student in one car and severe injuries to a Florida couple driving in another car.

Lawsuits were filed late last year against producer 51 Minds, MTV Networks, VH-1 and several others. According to the complaints, the driver had no valid license, and the defendants were accused of not taking reasonable care in hiring and training their driver.

Last month, the defendants agreed to pay $6.5 million to the family of the college student. Last week, 51 Minds agreed to a $16 million settlement with the couple.

"Rock of Love," which starred former Poison singer Bret Michaels, has been subject to other lawsuits, including litigation over the destruction of the mansion used to film the show. The third season of the show was completed earlier this year.

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The Hollywood Reporter, Esq. blog focuses on how the entertainment and media industries are impacted and influenced by the law. It is edited by Matthew Belloni with contributions from veteran legal reporter Eriq Gardner and others. Before joining The Hollywood Reporter, Belloni was a lawyer at an entertainment litigation firm in Los Angeles. He writes a column for THR devoted to entertainment law. Gardner is a New York-based writer and legal journalist. Send tips or comments to [email protected]

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