There is an interesting potential tort lawsuit in an incident at New York City’s Metropolitan Opera, which canceled its Saturday afternoon performance of “Guillaume Tell” after an audience member sprinkled what is believed to be the ashes of a deceased relative or friend. Update: The man involved in the incident has come forward and apologized. Dallas resident Roger Kaiser explained that he had promised his friend in 2012 (an opera lover) that he would scatter his ashes at various opera houses after his death.
Witnesses said that the man identified the substance as cremated ashes before sprinkling the ashes in the orchestra pit. The man then ran from the opera but police believe that he was from out of town and that his friend was his mentor and an opera loved.
As a result, the opera was canceled on Saturday as a high loss of revenue as well as an inconvenience. They also had to cancel the the Saturday evening performance of “L’Italiana in Algeri.”
If found, the man could clearly be sued civilly as well as charged criminally. The damages would be quite high and foreseeable. This is a fairly common problem for popular locations, including (as we previously discussed) Disneyland. People want to leave their loved ones at locations that meant a great deal to them like a race track or attraction or . . . the opera.