State Fair stage collapse lawsuits head to trial

Injury claims deadline is Aug. 13, 2013

INDIANAPOLIS - Two years after the tragic stage collapse at the Indiana State Fair, dozens of people are still moving forward with a lawsuit against the people and businesses connected to the Sugarland concert.

Seven people were killed and dozens were injured when a storm brought down the rigging over the stage on Aug. 13, 2011.

The incident was the focus of many national investigations which led to changes in outdoor concert venues.

About 60 people were still seeking to hold accountable those who put up the stage and the band Sugarland for their injuries and the death of loved ones.

“As we go through this process more and more answers are discovered," victims' attorney Tony Patterson said.

Patterson is one of several lawyers still collecting information about the case.

Members of Sugarland, questioned once, could be deposed again before the year is over.

More than 70 people have provided their personal account, but to date, there has been no need to file a subpoena and everyone who was called has cooperated.

"A lot of people are involved in the process of putting on a show. These people deposing are trying to figure out what happened from their perspective,” Patterson said.

While the lawsuit works its way to a trial, the Indiana Department of Labor was waiting for the
outcome of safety fines it imposed on two groups connected to the tragedy.

Greenfield-based Mid America Sound was slapped with $63,000 in penalties.

The Stagehands Union is facing fines totaling $11,005.

Both groups are in settlement negotiations, but neither has reached an agreement with the state.

The trial in the case is set for February 2014.

Under Indiana law, people have two years to file a lawsuit in these types of injury cases. The deadline for anyone injured in the 2011 incident is Aug. 13, 2013.

Taxpayers were responsible for $11 million in payments to victims. First in tort claims and then the legislature approved extra money that was all paid out.

The public also donated money. More than half a million dollars has been paid out.

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