Indiana State Fair claims proceed to court after settlement rejected

September 2012

Live events industry


The owner of the stage that collapsed at Indiana’s State Fair last year, just before country duo Sugarland were due to perform in the tragedy which killed seven people, has rejected a settlement plan that would have protected the State from further legal action. Mid-America Sound said not enough of the victims had agreed to the deal. Of the 62 claimants, which include people who were injured and the estates of those who died, only 51 agreed to the settlement by the August 1st deadline and amongst  those rejecting the deal were the families of three women killed when strong winds toppled the stage into a crowd on August 13th , 2011.

Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller had proposed the joint settlement, which asked victims to agree to settle their claims for shares of $6 million from the state and $7.2 million from Mid-America who leased the stage for the Fair, and the stage’s manufacturer, James Thomas Engineering. In exchange, the victims would agree not to seek additional compensation.

Mid-America had previously indicated that it would rely on invoices signed by State Fair Executive Director Cindy Hoye after the stage collapse that included legal language clearing the company of any wrongdoing. The state argues that the invoices didn’t constitute a legally binding contract, but it seems state lawyers didn’t want to test that assertion in court at that point.

Zoeller has now said Indiana would immediately begin distributing the $6 million that had already been approved earlier this year for victims – and the claims will now proceed to court where further liability will now be decided in the courts – and potential defendants will include the state, the stage manufacturer as well as Mid-America and Sugarland. and background here in our December 2011 Updates.

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