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AG's office begins distribution of funds to State Fair victims

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The estates of the seven people killed by the stage collapse at the Indiana State Fair in August will receive at least $300,000 each if the offers extended by the state are accepted, Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller announced Tuesday. Some of those injured in the collapse will receive nothing from the $5 million Indiana Tort Claim Fund.

Those seven estates could collectively receive more than $2.18 million, with 58 of the surviving victims who were among the most severely injured receiving a portion of the remaining funds, ranging from $503,000 to $109 per victim. Thirty-one claimants will receive nothing from the state.

The amounts announced Tuesday must be accepted or rejected by the claimants. Each has until Dec. 12 to respond. If the funds are rejected, that money would be allotted for other claimants who accepted offers and their amounts would be recalculated. Once offers are accepted and claimants sign a release of liability, the state will pay out the money later this month.

Zoeller announced shortly after the Aug. 13 incident that he would distribute the full $5 million in tort claim funds to victims on an expedited basis. Kenneth Feinberg, who administered victim compensation funds after 9/11, the Virginia Tech shootings and the BP Gulf oil spill, was brought in to devise a protocol for distributing the settlement payments.

More than 100 tort claim notices were filed with the Office of the Indiana Attorney General in an attempt to receive a portion of the $5 million – the state’s maximum tort claim payout for this incident. U.S. Judge Sarah Evans Barker recently granted limited class certification in a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of that cap.

During the process of calculating offers, the AG’s office participated in mediation with a group of 30 attorneys and law firms representing many claimants and reached tentative accord on the protocol. The AG’s office said settlement offers are with the consent of the governor's office, and all claimants have the legal right to decline a settlement offer and take their chances and file a lawsuit in court.

 

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  1. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  2. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  3. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  4. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

  5. "No one is safe when the Legislature is in session."

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