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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. 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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