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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. Indiana's seatbelt law is not punishable as a crime. It is an infraction. Apparently some of our Circuit judges have deemed settled law inapplicable if it fails to fit their litmus test of political correctness. Extrapolating to redefine terms of behavior in a violation of immigration law to the entire body of criminal law leaves a smorgasbord of opportunity for judicial mischief.

  2. I wonder if $10 diversions for failure to wear seat belts are considered moral turpitude in federal immigration law like they are under Indiana law? Anyone know?

  3. What a fine article, thank you! I can testify firsthand and by detailed legal reports (at end of this note) as to the dire consequences of rejecting this truth from the fine article above: "The inclusion and expansion of this right [to jury] in Indiana’s Constitution is a clear reflection of our state’s intention to emphasize the importance of every Hoosier’s right to make their case in front of a jury of their peers." Over $20? Every Hoosier? Well then how about when your very vocation is on the line? How about instead of a jury of peers, one faces a bevy of political appointees, mini-czars, who care less about due process of the law than the real czars did? Instead of trial by jury, trial by ideological ordeal run by Orwellian agents? Well that is built into more than a few administrative law committees of the Ind S.Ct., and it is now being weaponized, as is revealed in articles posted at this ezine, to root out post moderns heresies like refusal to stand and pledge allegiance to all things politically correct. My career was burned at the stake for not so saluting, but I think I was just one of the early logs. Due, at least in part, to the removal of the jury from bar admission and bar discipline cases, many more fires will soon be lit. Perhaps one awaits you, dear heretic? Oh, at that Ind. article 12 plank about a remedy at law for every damage done ... ah, well, the founders evidently meant only for those damages done not by the government itself, rabid statists that they were. (Yes, that was sarcasm.) My written reports available here: Denied petition for cert (this time around): http://tinyurl.com/zdmawmw Denied petition for cert (from the 2009 denial and five year banishment): http://tinyurl.com/zcypybh Related, not written by me: Amicus brief: http://tinyurl.com/hvh7qgp

  4. Justice has finally been served. So glad that Dr. Ley can finally sleep peacefully at night knowing the truth has finally come to the surface.

  5. While this right is guaranteed by our Constitution, it has in recent years been hampered by insurance companies, i.e.; the practice of the plaintiff's own insurance company intervening in an action and filing a lien against any proceeds paid to their insured. In essence, causing an additional financial hurdle for a plaintiff to overcome at trial in terms of overall award. In a very real sense an injured party in exercise of their right to trial by jury may be the only party in a cause that would end up with zero compensation.

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