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Widow of famed performer Ronald McFadden files wrongful death suit, claims slick steel ramp caused fatal fall

Ronnie McFadden.jpg
Posted at 4:46 PM, Jun 06, 2023

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The widow of entertainment legend Ronald McFadden filed a wrongful death suit claiming a slick steel ramp caused McFadden to fall on his saxophone, triggering a fatal heart condition.

The suit names:

  • JPMorgan Chase & Co.
  • Experience Events Group, LLC
  • Loew's Hotels, Inc. d/b/a Loews Kansas City Hotel
  • Vista Productions, Inc. of Harrisonville, Missouri
  • Harvest Productions, Inc. of Lathrop, Missouri

Ronald and Lonnie McFadden were famous for an act featuring singing, dancing, musical instruments and comedy routines.
The pair won a lifetime achievement award in 2016 from the American Jazz Museum and appeared with Kool and the Gang, among other famed performers, according to the lawsuit filed in Jackson County.

The suit states the brothers signed an agreement to perform for a JP Morgan conference on Feb. 28, 2023, at the Loews Kansas City Hotel's main ballroom in downtown KCMO.

Experience Events Group, Vista Productions and Harvest Productions "collectively own, supervise, manage and/or control the erecting, maintenance and safety of the temporary stage wherein Decedent was contracted to perform pursuant to the agreement," the suit states.

One of the main points of the lawsuit is the brothers, who wore tap shoes during their performance, had to exit the stage onto a steel ramp.

There were no handrails or a sufficient slip-resistant surface, and McFadden slipped and fell, according to the lawsuit.

An autopsy revealed McFadden's death "was deemed consistent with cardiac arrest following commotio cordis due to the impact of a saxophone to the chest."

The family asked the court for a jury trial and for a sum that is fair and reasonable in excess of $75,000 for the death of McFadden and for other damages.