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Zoeller: Most claimants agree to State Fair settlement

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More than 80 percent of victims who sued after the State Fair stage collapse last year say they want to participate in the $13.2 million public-private settlement negotiated between the Indiana attorney general’s office and two defendant companies, the AG’s office said Thursday.

Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller said in a statement that 51 of 62 eligible claimants indicated by the Aug. 1 deadline that they want to participate in the settlement package.
 
Mid-America Sound Corp. and James Thomas Engineering Inc. in June agreed to contribute $7.2 million to a settlement fund for victims that also included $6 million in state money approved for victim compensation by the Indiana General Assembly. The money is in addition to the state’s cap of $5 million per event.

Now the companies have through Aug. 15 to review the acceptance paperwork and determine if conditions are met to proceed with their tendered offer, according to Zoeller’s statement. The settlement is conditioned on a sufficient ratio of claimants from the largest claims category accepting it and releasing the two companies from liability.

Zoeller said the office would continue to accept mailed correspondence from claimants postmarked by Aug. 1, so the number accepting the settlement package could rise.

“This is an expedited and reasonable settlement that puts victims first and will provide for the immediate medical and financial needs now, rather than after waging lengthy and uncertain litigation,” Zoeller said.

If the companies’ criteria are met for the private settlement, arbitration hearings will take place in September to calculate the precise amounts that participating claimants will receive, based on medical costs and other data, the statement said.

“We respect the right of the few claimants who may decide to turn down the settlement, but it is important to move forward so that the vast majority get immediate relief,” Zoeller said.

According to the statement, the General Assembly specified how much certain categories of claimants will receive from the state’s portion:  Estates of the seven deceased will be increased from the $300,000 they received last year up to $700,000, the maximum allowed. Claimants with non-permanent injuries will have 100 percent of their out-of-pocket medical costs reimbursed out of the public money, on top of the 65 percent they were paid last year.

If the companies accept the size of the pool of claimants, arbitrators will designate the amounts for the injured claimants out of the public money as well as amounts for all categories of claimants out of the separate pool of private money, Zoeller said in a statement.

 

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  1. Well, maybe it's because they are unelected, and, they have a tendency to strike down laws by elected officials from all over the country. When you have been taught that "Democracy" is something almost sacred, then, you will have a tendency to frown on such imperious conduct. Lawyers get acculturated in law school into thinking that this is the very essence of high minded government, but to people who are more heavily than King George ever did, they may not like it. Thanks for the information.

  2. I pd for a bankruptcy years ago with Mr Stiles and just this week received a garnishment from my pay! He never filed it even though he told me he would! Don't let this guy practice law ever again!!!

  3. Excellent initiative on the part of the AG. Thankfully someone takes action against predators taking advantage of people who have already been through the wringer. Well done!

  4. Conour will never turn these funds over to his defrauded clients. He tearfully told the court, and his daughters dutifully pledged in interviews, that his first priority is to repay every dime of the money he stole from his clients. Judge Young bought it, much to the chagrin of Conour’s victims. Why would Conour need the $2,262 anyway? Taxpayers are now supporting him, paying for his housing, utilities, food, healthcare, and clothing. If Conour puts the money anywhere but in the restitution fund, he’s proved, once again, what a con artist he continues to be and that he has never had any intention of repaying his clients. Judge Young will be proven wrong... again; Conour has no remorse and the Judge is one of the many conned.

  5. Pass Legislation to require guilty defendants to pay for the costs of lab work, etc as part of court costs...

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