Sugarland was named in a lawsuit filed by forty four survivors of the Indiana State Fair stage collapse, and also by family members of four people who died. Lawyers have alleged breach of reasonable care to the victims.
The complaint states that Sugarland and the other entities owed a duty to provide a safe concert environment and to use reasonable care in the direction, set-up and supervision of the event. The complaint does not name the state of Indiana or the fair as defendants to the claim.
The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages from Sugarland, producers of the show, stage riggers and others that were associated with the show. A wind gust of at least sixty miles per hour caused the stage rigging to collapse into spectators, killing seven people and injuring more than forty.
Sugarland’s contract stated that they had the final say as to whether to cancel the show or not due to inclement weather. The plaintiff’s attorney said, “Unfortunately, this tragedy could have been prevented if the responsible parties had been concerned about the concertgoers that night.”
Plaintiff’s co-counsel said, “This is a devastating tragedy that has impacted hundreds of people. It is critical to help the victims pay the medical bills and other financial expenses that they have incurred from this incident.”
A state law caps the state’s liability at $5 million for damages from this incident. A separate fund has paid almost $564,000 to 28 victims.
Sugarland claims the stage collapse was caused by a gust of wind and as such was an accident, or an act of God. They also added that they had nothing to do with the construction of the venue. They also claim that the plaintiff’s claims were caused by an open and obvious danger and that some of all of the injuries were their own fault. Sugarland also denies allegations that they had authority over the setup of the stage.
Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) found that the scaffolding was not properly erected and that Mid-American had not inspected that rigging during its construction or after it was erected. OSHA issued more than $80,000 in fines for violations.
Pulgini & Norton, LLP attorneys have handled workers’ compensation claims for over 25 years in and around Boston and its surrounding areas. If you or a family member has been injured at work and would like to seek legal assistance, please contact us at (781) 843-2200 or (888) 344-2046 or email us.
Sugarland sued over stage collapse, USA Today, November 23, 2011
Sugarland responds to lawsuit over Indiana stage collapse, USA Today, February 21, 2012