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Heavy D Sues Over Deadly Stampede In '91

Heavy D has sued an insurance company for $1.5 million the rapper says it owes him after nine people were crushed to death in a stampede at a 1991 celebrity basketball game he helped organize.

Some 5,000 people showed up at a City College of New York gymnasium, which had a capacity of about 2,700, for the Dec. 28, 1991, event. Fans crowded down a stairwell to a closed door, where people at the bottom were crushed, nine fatally.

The 39-year-old rapper, whose real name is Dwight Myers, says in court papers that he bought a $1 million policy from National Union Fire Insurance Co. of Pittsburgh in 1989 that covered him for anything involving his work as an entertainer.

Myers contends his entertainment work included the heavily promoted basketball game featuring music stars that he, rap mogul Sean "Diddy" Combs and others organized at the college's Nat Holman Gymnasium.

The lawsuit, filed Friday in Manhattan's state Supreme Court, says the insurance company exhausted its legal appeals and has been ordered by the state Supreme Court's Appellate Division to reimburse Myers for payments to victims or their families.

Myers seeks reimbursement of $791,899 — plus interest of $381,167 — for personal-injury and wrongful-death claims, and is asking for $324,919 for legal fees and costs incurred in suing the insurance company.

A spokesman for the insurance company, Peter Tulupman, said he could not comment on pending litigation.

Myers' lawyer, Paul Martin, said Monday the lawsuit seeks a determination of how much National Union will have to pay his client.