Lawyer for Station Nightclub victims to speak in Connecticut

WINSTED — As an attorney who represents clients who have been injured through negligence or other liability issues, John Barylick has a quick answer about why such incidents can occur.

“The theme throughout my career, what is common with the bad actors, is greed,” he said.

Barylick will share his experiences in the legal profession at the “Leaders in Law” series on Dec. 6 at The American Museum of Tort Law in Winsted.

For instance, Barylick, who is from Providence, R.I., represented more than 50 families of victims who were killed or injured in the Station Nightclub fire in West Warwick, R.I., in 2003.

“It was a tragedy of unprecedented scale,” Barylick said in an interview. He described the nightclub as a “rundown roadhouse that was over the hill.”

Records show that so many fans of the ’80s heavy metal band Great White were allowed by the owners to pack into the club that the crowd far exceeded the room’s capacity.

The fire killed 100 members of the audience and injured 230 more after a display of pyrotechnics ignited the highly flammable soundproofing around the bandstand.

The owners of the club, brothers Jeffrey and Michael Derderian, failed to install a sprinkler system in the building, according to an article by former Boston Globe reporter Stephen Kurkjian. The system was required by state law, Kurkjian said.

The settlement from the civil suit filed by Barylick and seven other law firms totaled $176 million, according to a release from the tort museum.

After the settlement, Barylick said he realized “I probably knew more about (the event) than anyone else.”

He decided to write a book because “if it’s not documented, the information would be lost.” The book “Killer Show,” is required reading, Barylick said, for “would-be firefighters” who are studying code enforcement.

In fact, the audience at Barylick’s presentations about the nightclub fire is often made up of more fire service personnel, he said, than members of the general public.

His presentation is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the tort museum, 654 Main St. A donation of $20 is requested. Those planning to attend are asked to reserve a seat by calling 860-379-0505, or emailing