Attorneys Seek Class-Action In Stage Collapse Suit

Law Firm Represents Woman Who Witnessed 'Terrible Carnage'

An Indianapolis law firm said Tuesday that it is seeking class-action status for a lawsuit against the state of Indiana in the aftermath of the collapse of stage rigging at the Indiana State Fair that claimed the lives of seven people and injured dozens more.

Cohen and Malad, LLP, said the suit was filed on behalf of Angela Fischer, who was not injured in the collapse but "bore witness to the terrible carnage left in its wake."

Special Section: Indiana State Fair Stage Collapse

"I keep replaying images. It's like a movie. It doesn't stop," Fischer told reporters at a news conference Tuesday.

Attorneys said Fischer's boyfriend pushed her out of the way as the stage came crashing down and that he went back to the wreckage to help pull victims from beneath the structure.

"There was a person that I saw struggling to breathe, fighting really hard to live," she said. "And then they covered this person up with this itchy, it was some random carpet from the stage. And I kept saying, 'That's going to be itchy,' because I'm a mom. But I didn't realize that the person had died."

Fischer said she's sought counseling to deal with post-traumatic stress from the incident. She said she remembers almost everything about that night.

"The only part I blacked out on was the part where he (her boyfriend) actually picked me up and ran in the right direction, away from the collapse," she said. "We could have run the wrong way, which is is what a lot of people did. They ran where they thought the stage wasn't going, and it shifted forward."

Attorneys blasted the state's statutory limit on injury claims and called Gov. Mitch Daniels statement that the collapse was a "fluke event" outrageous.

"The people at this event relied on the organizers to keep an eye on the event, and that's what failed," said attorney Jeff Hammond. "The structure failed in the environment it was designed to be used in."

Cohen and Malad said it won't collect fees for its lawsuit that was filed in Marion County Superior Court.

The number of lawsuits is mounting in the aftermath of the collapse, with a tort claim and other filings in recent days.

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