ILNews

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. CCHP's real accomplishment is the 2015 law signed by Gov Pence that basically outlaws any annexation that is forced where a 65% majority of landowners in the affected area disagree. Regardless of whether HP wins or loses, the citizens of Indiana will not have another fiasco like this. The law Gov Pence signed is a direct result of this malgovernance.

  2. I gave tempparry guardship to a friend of my granddaughter in 2012. I went to prison. I had custody. My daughter went to prison to. We are out. My daughter gave me custody but can get her back. She was not order to give me custody . but now we want granddaughter back from friend. She's 14 now. What rights do we have

  3. This sure is not what most who value good governance consider the Rule of Law to entail: "In a letter dated March 2, which Brizzi forwarded to IBJ, the commission dismissed the grievance “on grounds that there is not reasonable cause to believe that you are guilty of misconduct.”" Yet two month later reasonable cause does exist? (Or is the commission forging ahead, the need for reasonable belief be damned? -- A seeming violation of the Rules of Profession Ethics on the part of the commission) Could the rule of law theory cause one to believe that an explanation is in order? Could it be that Hoosier attorneys live under Imperial Law (which is also a t-word that rhymes with infamy) in which the Platonic guardians can do no wrong and never owe the plebeian class any explanation for their powerful actions. (Might makes it right?) Could this be a case of politics directing the commission, as celebrated IU Mauer Professor (the late) Patrick Baude warned was happening 20 years ago in his controversial (whisteblowing) ethics lecture on a quite similar topic: http://www.repository.law.indiana.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1498&context=ilj

  4. I have a case presently pending cert review before the SCOTUS that reveals just how Indiana regulates the bar. I have been denied licensure for life for holding the wrong views and questioning the grand inquisitors as to their duties as to state and federal constitutional due process. True story: https://www.scribd.com/doc/299040839/2016Petitionforcert-to-SCOTUS Shorter, Amici brief serving to frame issue as misuse of govt licensure: https://www.scribd.com/doc/312841269/Thomas-More-Society-Amicus-Brown-v-Ind-Bd-of-Law-Examiners

  5. Here's an idea...how about we MORE heavily regulate the law schools to reduce the surplus of graduates, driving starting salaries up for those new grads, so that we can all pay our insane amount of student loans off in a reasonable amount of time and then be able to afford to do pro bono & low-fee work? I've got friends in other industries, radiology for example, and their schools accept a very limited number of students so there will never be a glut of new grads and everyone's pay stays high. For example, my radiologist friend's school accepted just six new students per year.

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