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Settlement adds $7.2 million for State Fair stage collapse victims

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Two defendants in lawsuits over the Indiana State Fair stage collapse that killed seven and injured dozens have agreed to add $7.2 million to money the state has already distributed or appropriated, Attorney General Greg Zoeller announced Friday.

Mid-America Sound and James Thomas Engineering offered the additional money to victims after mediation with plaintiff attorneys and Zoeller’s office, he said at a news conference. The money is in addition to $5 million the state provided, reaching the tort claim cap, and a $6 million one-time supplement the General Assembly approved during the 2012 legislative session.

In a news release, Zoeller said the private money will be paid upon collective support among a “sufficient” number of the 62 plaintiffs, and the additional state funds will be distributed by year’s end as the Legislature required.

Claimants who want to participate in the additional compensation – both public and private dollars – must sign a form releasing Mid-America and James Thomas Engineering from any liability and releasing the state from any legal obligations, the AG’s office said.

“This is about putting the victims first. The state's role to assist victims of the State Fair tragedy did not end when we paid out the original $5 million maximum from the tort claim fund in December. We know that claimants need additional financial help now and they can’t wait for years, so with the Legislature’s support and direction we designed a process where they can tap into additional funds. We want to provide these supplemental dollars in a prompt, equitable and respectful manner,” Zoeller said.

Zoeller declined to discuss elements of mediation that led to the settlement, but said his office also has been in mediation with additional defendants. But he said defendants and plaintiffs collaborated in “an expedited process like I’ve never seen before.”

The state’s supplemental $6 million appropriation includes an additional $400,000 that will be paid to the estates of the seven victims who died waiting for last summer’s Sugarland concert. That disbursement will bring compensation in each of those cases to the $700,000 individual tort cap.

That will leave $3.3 million of the state’s supplemental relief, which, combined with the private companies’ settlement, will leave $10.5 million that will be distributed to victims through a three-member arbitration panel.

Zoeller said that if victims were unsatisfied with the settlement, they retained the ability to bring suit against Mid-America Sound and James Thomas Engineering.

Zoeller said the settlement will curtail what could have been years of litigation that likely would have involved a future settlement. His office continues to talk with other defendants in stage collapse litigation.

“We’re not going to walk away on this,” he said.

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  1. It appears the police and prosecutors are allowed to change the rules halfway through the game to suit themselves. I am surprised that the congress has not yet eliminated the right to a trial in cases involving any type of forensic evidence. That would suit their foolish law and order police state views. I say we eliminate the statute of limitations for crimes committed by members of congress and other government employees. Of course they would never do that. They are all corrupt cowards!!!

  2. Poor Judge Brown probably thought that by slavishly serving the godz of the age her violations of 18th century concepts like due process and the rule of law would be overlooked. Mayhaps she was merely a Judge ahead of her time?

  3. in a lawyer discipline case Judge Brown, now removed, was presiding over a hearing about a lawyer accused of the supposedly heinous ethical violation of saying the words "Illegal immigrant." (IN re Barker) http://www.in.gov/judiciary/files/order-discipline-2013-55S00-1008-DI-429.pdf .... I wonder if when we compare the egregious violations of due process by Judge Brown, to her chiding of another lawyer for politically incorrectness, if there are any conclusions to be drawn about what kind of person, what kind of judge, what kind of apparatchik, is busy implementing the agenda of political correctness and making off-limits legit advocacy about an adverse party in a suit whose illegal alien status is relevant? I am just asking the question, the reader can make own conclsuion. Oh wait-- did I use the wrong adjective-- let me rephrase that, um undocumented alien?

  4. of course the bigger questions of whether or not the people want to pay for ANY bussing is off limits, due to the Supreme Court protecting the people from DEMOCRACY. Several decades hence from desegregation and bussing plans and we STILL need to be taking all this taxpayer money to combat mostly-imagined "discrimination" in the most obviously failed social program of the postwar period.

  5. You can put your photos anywhere you like... When someone steals it they know it doesn't belong to them. And, a man getting a divorce is automatically not a nice guy...? That's ridiculous. Since when is need of money a conflict of interest? That would mean that no one should have a job unless they are already financially solvent without a job... A photographer is also under no obligation to use a watermark (again, people know when a photo doesn't belong to them) or provide contact information. Hey, he didn't make it easy for me to pay him so I'll just take it! Well heck, might as well walk out of the grocery store with a cart full of food because the lines are too long and you don't find that convenient. "Only in Indiana." Oh, now you're passing judgement on an entire state... What state do you live in? I need to characterize everyone in your state as ignorant and opinionated. And the final bit of ignorance; assuming a photo anyone would want is lucky and then how much does your camera have to cost to make it a good photo, in your obviously relevant opinion?

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