A civil lawsuit filed May 1 against the party app Poppin — which marketed and supported several Deltopia parties this year — alleges the company is liable for nuisance and negligence. 

This year’s Deltopia saw 23 arrests and 151 citations — numbers matched only by the mid-2010s. Courtesy of Brandon Doherty

The plaintiffs, Oceanside Investments, are the owners of 6613 and 6619 Del Playa Drive. 

In court documents, they alleged that Poppin and co-defendant Red Jooce Project, who DJed the event, sold tickets for a Deltopia Music Festival event on their property for $35 that facilitated injury and medical emergencies. 

The lawsuit filing cites 33 medical transports from the Del Playa property, two uses of naloxone to save participants from opioid overdose, instances of partygoers jumping or falling from balconies, two felonious assaults on law enforcement officers, and participants being arrested on various charges in or around the vicinity. 

Deltopia, an unsanctioned street festival hosted annually in Isla Vista, has historically drawn crowds and raucous behavior. After 2014 riots caused property damage and civil unrest, stricter regulations were put in place to regulate the event. 

A Poppin representative told the Nexus that the lawsuit claims are “baseless.” 

“Poppin helped promote the party in question and acted as the ticketing platform for these events, but was not the actual host,” he said in a statement. “That said, we understand that real estate companies (such as the plaintiff) have a vested interest to avoid financial or legal liability as much as [possible] and having parties thrown on their property threatens that interest.” 

Poppin said in the future, they would work with companies like the plaintiff to ensure “uncapped events” like Deltopia won’t happen again.

This year’s Deltopia saw 23 arrests and 151 citations — numbers matched only by the mid-2010s, according to I.V. Foot Patrol Lieutenant Garrett TeSlaa, who said out-of-towners and parties like Poppin’s contributed to the increased unrest. 

At an April 11 Isla Vista Community Services District meeting, TeSlaa said that the department was “looking at all options for enforcement to squash these illegal paid parties that are occurring where people are hosting events, charging money using their landlord’s property to gain a profit from this without proper permits, without proper zoning.” 

The ongoing lawsuit cites similar charges, alleging negligence because Poppin “reasonably should have known” that their participation in marketing the event and selling excessive numbers of tickets would lead to illegal activity, according to court documents. 

“[Poppin] knew, or reasonably should have known … that such conduct would overcrowd Plaintiff’s subject property and that minors and others would consume alcohol, recreational drugs and illegal substances and engage in reckless and injurious behavior,” the documents read. 

In a previous interview with the Nexus, a UC Santa Barbara student and Poppin representative said that Poppin does not conduct any business at the in-person party locations and does not host any parties. 

“We weren’t actually hosting any parties. We partnered with a lot of local hosts, like Red Jooce, Routine IV, Target House and DMT, and they were the ones that host the parties. We basically just promoted them, made sure that they were safe, helped them get locations, and basically just made sure everything ran as smoothly as possible,” the anonymous representative said. 

The plaintiffs also argued “unfair competition” in the lawsuit, stating that their reputation suffered and they lost time and money as a result of the Deltopia music festival. 

They are seeking compensatory damages and looking to bar Poppin from conducting any more music festival events on their property and in Isla Vista, the court documents stated. 

A case management conference for the lawsuit is slated for August 2023. 

A version of this article appeared on p. 1 of the May 11, 2023 print edition of the Daily Nexus.


Holly Rusch
Holly Rusch (she/her) is the Lead News Editor for the 2022-23 school year. Previously, Rusch was the University News Editor and co-Lead News Editor for the 2020-21 school year. She can be reached at news@dailynexus.com or hollyrusch@dailynexus.com.